A MOTHER has apologised after fraudulently claiming more than £10,000 in benefits.
Amanda Jane Stretch, who was formerly Amanda Fisher, of Shepherds Hill, Droitwich, admitted getting £10,030.43, which she was not entitled to.
The overpayments to the 35-year-old mother of two between June 2011 and April last year were discovered as a result of an investigation by Wychavon District Council.
It was found Stretch had failed to declare she was living together at the same address from June 2011 with her partner, who she has since married.
She had claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit as a lone parent while her partner was working.
When she was interviewed about the matter in February 2013, she admitted they were living together but said she had told the Housing Association and she thought they would tell the council.
She admitted she had not told the council about this.
When the Housing Association was approached immediately after the interview and their records were checked, there was no evidence of her reporting it to them when she said that she did.
The case was heard at Worcester Magistrates Court on July 3, where Stretch pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly failing to report a change in her circumstances.
She declined legal representation and defended herself saying she was very sorry. She knew she should have told the council but she wasn’t sure if the relationship would work out.
She now realizes she should have told the council straight away.
Deputy District Judge Marshall said this was a very serious matter in view of the amounts of benefits overpaid, but noted she had admitted to the offences and was repaying the money.
He felt she would not be suitable for unpaid work in view of having spina bifida and caring for two children.
She was sentenced to an immediate three-month Curfew Order between the hours of 8pm and 6am
She was also ordered to pay £100 towards the costs of the prosecution and a Victim Surcharge of £60.
Stretch will also have to fully repay all the benefits to which she was not entitled.