Benefit cheat who illegally claimed more than £18,000 spared jail after she paid back "every penny"
A benefit cheat who claimed more than £18,000 that she was not entitled to has paid "every penny" back and kept her freedom.
Victoria Moore, who was legitimately paid carers allowance, was entitled to earn £102 per week without it having an affect on her benefits.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard the 37-year-old failed to inform the authorities when her wages were £150 per week, for five years, while working for her husband.
Prosecutor Nadim Bashir told the court: "On May 5 2014 she began working for her family's company, World of Fires Ltd.
"Between May 12, 2014 and December 15, 2019 the wages she received were in excess of the point laid down for a legitimate claim for carers allowance."
Mr Bashir said the total amount overpaid was £18,404.
The court heard Moore confessed she had been working for her husband and had failed to properly declare that her earnings had changed.
Moore submitted three letters to the court from herself as well as character references from those who know her.
Fiona Lamb, defending, said: "She has repaid every penny that she was overpaid.
"There is remorse in this case which couldn't be more genuine."
Judge Robert Adams sentenced Moore to a community order for 12 months with rehabilitation requirements and 100 hours unpaid work.
The judge told her: "You were entitled to carers allowance so this was not fraudulent from the outset.
"You could earn £102 per week from other employment and you exceeded that when you started working for World of Fires Ltd.
"That money has all been paid back, there is no loss to the taxpayer in the end."
The court heard Moore has never been in trouble before and the judge said she had expressed "genuine remorse and regret".
Moore, of St Mary's Terrace, East Boldon, admitted failing to notify a change in circumstances.