Published: 00:01, 18 November 2014
A Margate mother of four wept as she was jailed for receiving nearly £55,000 in benefits illegally.
Emma Truscott, 36, failed to tell the authorities that for two years her lover was banking his £750-a-week wages in her account.
But as Truscott, of William Avenue, was led away to begin an eight month jail sentence, Judge Adele Williams told her: “He is equally to blame really... if not legally then certainly morally."
Canterbury Crown Court heard how Truscott and Michael Wild – who was the father of three of her children – were cohabiting as she was claiming Child Tax Credits, Income Support as well as housing and council tax benefits from 2011 to April last year.
Undercover officials kept watch at their home and spotted his vehicle parked there each day.
In January 2012, Truscott was formerly cautioned for failing to notify the authorities that she was also working while claiming benefits.
After her arrest she told officials that she and welder Mr Wild were separated but because of his “bad credit rating” had used her bank account.
Kerry Waitt, defending, said Truscott didn’t know how stable her relationship was with her partner.
But Judge Williams retorted: “While I accept that is not unusual for women in her position... here his wages were being paid into her bank account.
"And once you start doing that, every conceivable alarm bell should be ringing and then when you are cautioned for failing to disclose you are also working... even more alarm bells should be ringing."
Mr Waitt added: "She realises that she has not put herself and her children in jeopardy."
Truscott, who admitted four benefit fraud charges, began wringing her hands and crying as the judge told her offences were too serious for her to avoid going to prison immediately.
Customs and Excise spokeswoman Rosemary Clifford said after the case:
"HMRC is committed to tackling tax credit fraud and those found to be abusing the system will face the consequences.
"Benefit fraud is not a victimless crime and Emma Truscott lied on numerous occasions to continue to receive benefits she wasn’t entitled to, pocketing money needed to fund public services."
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