A benefits cheat has been given 161 years to repay £57,405 – after keeping quiet about the new man in her life.
Mum-of-four Sandra Kelwick was ordered to obey a three-month curfew as punishment for the offences which emerged when civil servants were tipped off.
A court heard she has been told to return the cash at £13.70 a fortnight. But her solicitor Joe Harvey said: “She may be able to find employment to start to pay it back at a much more attractive rate.”
Kelwick, aged 50, of North Crescent, Duckmanton, Chesterfield, admitted four counts of failing to notify a change of circumstances and two of making false statements to get benefit.
She was also put on probation and given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for a year at Derby Crown Court.
Edna Leonard, prosecuting, said Kelwick began claiming benefit in July 2000 when her partner left the home. But in December 2012, civil servants were told another man had moved in during November 2007.
Checks showed he gave her address to his bank in 2007 and his employers were told of his location in 2011. His car’s insurance carried the address.
“Surveillance was undertaken and they saw him coming and going from the address. She said she had been his girlfriend for seven years but they didn’t live together,” said Miss Leonard.
Later Kelwick admitted he had moved in. When the offences ended, she had been wrongly paid £38,619 income support, £14,058 housing benefit and council tax benefit of £4,728.
Miss Leonard said Kelwick had never been in trouble before.
Judge Jonathan Gosling told her: “You stole over a long period of time almost £10,000 a year. You have lost your good name.”
The judge said he noted Kelwick had been ill, pleaded guilty promptly and the benefit claims were initially legitimate.
He added: “I hope your health improves so you can go back to work.” He ordered her to have five days of ‘employment training’ to help her get a job.
She had discussed her benefits with her new partner and he persuaded her to keep on claiming.
The judge estimated she could have legitimately received £8,000 benefits and added: “It is likely to be significantly more.”