A benefits cheat fraudulently claimed more than £24,000 after failing to declare she had married and was living with her husband.
Lindsay Walters, 45, was investigated following an anonymous tip-off and was found to have married Anthony Hicks in 2011.
Her initial claims for incapacity benefit and income support in 2005 were genuine but she failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about her relationship status when her benefits migrated to employment and support allowance in 2015.
When asked to explain payments adding up to £44,000 from her husband into her bank account Walters claimed the money was to go towards her daughter’s cheerleading competition.
A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday heard Walters, from Cardiff, was unable to work due to ill health and had no income or savings but was claiming on the basis that she was a single parent. But upon marrying Mr Hicks she was obliged to notify the DWP about her change in circumstances.
Prosecutor Nuhu Gobir said during the investigation into her living arrangements a DWP fraud investigator gathered evidence from Facebook photos, car insurance, GP information, and live surveillance which proved Mr Hicks was living with Walters at her home in Grand Avenue, Ely.
In her interview the defendant denied failing to notify the DWP and said she assumed HMRC would pass over information about her marriage after she notified them in respect of her receiving tax credits.
She also claimed she and Mr Hicks had split up shortly after her marriage but following a reconciliation he moved into her home permanently in 2017 and began contributing financially later that year.
In reference to payments made to the defendant’s account from her husband Mr Gobir said: “She said Anthony Hicks gave her money to pay for a cheerleading competition for her daughter.
“She also said he would pay money into her account and would use her card to make purchases because he didn’t like using his own card.”
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Walters later pleaded guilty to benefit fraud to the tune of £24,778 between December 17, 2015, and March 24, 2018.
The court heard the defendant was paying back the money at £74 a fortnight in reductions from her benefits.
When asked why his client had initially denied the offence defence barrister Hashim Salmman said it was down to a “genuine anxiety” about going to prison.
Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke sentenced Walters to 29 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months and made her subject to a curfew order for six months.