A MUM from Horbling who claimed more than £50,000 in benefits illegally has been given a suspended jail sentence at Lincoln Crown Court.
Tara Petherick, 43, failed to tell the authorities she had got married and continued to receive income support, council tax benefit and housing benefit on the basis that she was a single mother.
Tony Stanford, prosecuting, said Petherick had initially made a legitimate claim for benefits but should have informed the DWP and her local council when she married.
He said: “She made a claim for income support on the basis that she was a single unmarried mother. It was a genuine claim when it was first made but inquiries were made later on and it was established she married in December 2005.”
Mr Stanford said that Petherick took out a joint loan with her husband and inquiries revealed that her husband’s wages were paid into her bank account.
He told the court: “The net effect is that the defendant has fraudulently obtained £52,957.”
Petherick, of Donington Road, admitted failing to declare her change of circumstance between December 2005 and November 2011.
She was given a 36-week jail sentence suspended for a year with 12 months supervision and 180 hours of unpaid work.
David Stanton, defending, said Petherick had an unhappy marriage and had suffered a decline in both her mental and physical health.
He said: “Her husband was manipulative and dominant. He insisted his wages were paid into her account but he would draw all of the money out for himself. She was given nothing to live on. It was relatively easy to allow the benefits to carry on being paid.
“There is no evidence of the money being spent on frivolous matters. It has all gone to the family. It has not gone to gambling, excess living or holidays.”