A 23-year-old mother of two appeared before Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday (26 January) and admitted to charges of benefit fraud.
In a prosecution brought by Thurrock Council, Rebecca Pearce, of Freemantle House, Tilbury, the court heard she had wrongly obtained nearly £15,000 between June 2007 and November 2009 from the council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
While claiming Income Support, Pearce failed to declare the father of her two children – who was in full-time employment – had been living with her and then made a claim for Housing and Council Tax Benefit in March 2008, again failing to declare that he was living with her.
Evidence of his presence at the home included police records, credit references and CCTV footage taken from security cameras in the public areas of the flats.
In passing sentence, His Honour Judge Graham said the offences were so serious he was imposing a 12-month Community Order, plus a requirement that she complete 100 hours unpaid work.
Pearce is repaying all the money that has been overpaid to her.