A lying Burnley woman claimed she was a single mum in a near £30,000 benefits scam but was married and living with her husband, a court heard.
Deborah Louise Fogg, who struck over almost five years, insisted she was a lone parent but investigators from the Department for Work and Pensions saw her spouse David Fogg coming and going and walking their child to school.
It’s a sad time to lose your good name at 48Judge
Fogg, who had claimed income support and housing and council tax benefits, was spared immediate jail as a judge said she had learned her lesson and her child, who is autistic, was reliant on her.
The defendant, of Coal Clough Lane, had earlier admitted three charges of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances between July 6th 2009 and February 21st 2014. She was given 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.
Prosecutor Andrew Evans told the hearing Fogg claimed benefits on the basis she was a single parent with a dependent child. She claimed more than £20,000 she wasn’t entitled to from the DWP, plus a further £7,983 in housing and council tax benefits from Burnley Council. The total over-claimed was £28,919.67.
Mr Evans said DWP investigators found Mr Fogg’s bank had the Coal Clough Lane address as his, he had motor insurance at the house, bought his wife a car and his works van was parked outside. The barrister added: “It wasn’t a very sophisticated fraud.”
He told the hearing when Fogg was interviewed twice under caution, in May and June last year, she claimed Mr Fogg was living with a friend.
Mr Evans added the defendant had a notional entitlement to benefits of £11,467.03. She had no previous convictions. The money was being recovered by the civil route.
Philip Holden, for Fogg, said she and her husband still lived together but not as husband and wife but for the sake of their child who had “profound problems.”
The barrister said: “She wasn’t aware of the entitlement she had in fact had until recently, when she made inquiries and realised she could have been claiming for longer legitimately.”
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt told the defendant she had lied to the DWP and knew it. “It’s a sad time to lose your good name at 48.”