A TORQUAY benefits cheat has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of community work after illegally claiming almost £9,000.
Joanne Billingham, 37, of Winstone Avenue, failed to tell Torbay Council that her partner, who was working as an outside operative for Teignbridge District Council, was earning and living with her.
Magistrates in Torquay were told that although the defendant did not set out to deceive the council her actions still amounted to a serious fraud over a significant period of time.
Billingham pleaded guilty to one charge that between July 1, 2011 and October 14, 2012 she failed to notify the council of a change of circumstances affecting her entitlement to benefit.
Mark Maries, prosecuting for Torbay Council, said Billingham had been overpaid housing benefit of £7,905. She was also overpaid Council Tax benefit of £820.
He said the defendant had signed a document that she would tell the council should her circumstances change but had not done so when her partner moved back in.
Billingham, the court was told, had been fully cooperative with the investigation.
Her solicitor, Philip Miles, said her crime had not been fraudulent from the outset and she had disclosed other changes in circumstance.
Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order and unpaid work of 100 hours. They also told her to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £60.