45-year-old woman falsely claimed £84k in benefits
A woman who swindled Mendip council tax-payers out of £84,000 has lost her previous good name and been given a prison record.
Julia Gratton, 45, of Brickyard Lane, Wanstrow, admitted making a false statement to claim housing benefit and failing to notify a change of circumstances.
She said she had separated from her husband in 2003 and he had moved to New Zealand, but they were joint owners of a cottage, Taunton Crown Court heard. She has now repaid all the money in full.
Judge Graham Hume Jones said she had lied about her husband and the fraud was "a planned effort".
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She was sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years, and he told her: "You have been a person of good character and now you have a criminal record and will be registered with a prison record.
"Because you have paid the money back, I will suspend the prison sentence."
Gratton was also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and to pay costs of £1,078.