Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting DN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Pregnant woman fiddled £100k in benefits
12:10pm Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
A PREGNANT Dudley mother-of-three has been spared jail after she fiddled more than £100,000 in benefits over a nine-year period.
Judge Helen Hughes told Alice Gough, of Marigold Crescent, there could be criticism she had been allowed to keep her freedom, but she ruled she had to take into account the 39-year-old was the primary carer for her children and there was another baby on the way.
The judge said: "You obtained this money you were not entitled to over a prolonged period of time. It is a substantial sum over £100,000. I accept you would have been entitled to some benefits although it is not clear just how much you would have received."
She added: "A custodial sentence is the only option and although there may be some criticism for being lenient I have just been convinced that it can be suspended."
Gough admitted failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change in her circumstances at Wolverhampton Crown Court and was given a 12 month jail term suspended for two years.
The judge further placed her on supervision for two years and also ordered her to carry out 100 hours unpaid work in the community.
Miss Laura Culley prosecuting told the court that Gough received a total of £101,198 in income support, housing and council tax benefits when she failed to notify the authorities she was living with her partner.
The money was fiddled by Gough, who works as a part time carer, between March 2002 and June 2011, added Miss Culley, who said investigations revealed she and her partner had put down the same address when registering the children.
"He had also put down the same address as Gough to his employers and on other accounts," concluded Miss Culley. "In interview she originally said they had only lived at the same address for a short time."
Mr Andrew Wallace defending said Gough, a woman of previous good character, had been entitled to some benefits but not the amount that figured in the two charges.
He said she had already started to pay back some of the money adding: "Although this is a substantial sum her resources are limited. It is not certain if all of it will ever be returned to the public purse."