A MUM who claimed more than £17,000 in benefits she was not entitled to has been spared jail.
Nicola Magee failed to inform the authorities her partner had moved in with her and continued to claim as a single parent.
During a five-year period between 2003 and 2008 she was paid £17,094 which was not due to her.
The 32-year-old, of Shakespeare Street, Sunderland, admitted benefit fraud.
Prosecutor Lee Fish told the court: “She claimed income support from September 2002 on the basis she was a single woman with two dependent children. At the outset that was almost certainly true.
“From September 2003 she failed to disclose the fact she was living with her parter.”
Mrs Recorder Turner sentenced Magee to a community order for 12 months with 100 hours’ unpaid work and supervision.
The judge told her; “You knew you should not got that money yet you continued to do so for a period of almost five years.
“As a consecuence of this you have lost your good name and I know that that will be upsetting and distressing to you.”
Glenn Gatland, defending, said: “She is a vulnerable young woman with two children.”
The court heard Magee is now paying back the cash.