A WOMAN cheated her way to £76,473 she was not entitled to by pretending she was a single mother, York Crown Court heard.

Karen Fligg claimed benefitsfor seven years on the grounds she was living alone with her children at an address in Jute Road, Acomb, when she was actually living in the house next door with her husband Stephen, said Aisha Wadoodi, prosecuting.

Recorder Amanda Rippon told Fligg if everyone claiming benefits behaved as she had the results would be “catastrophic”.

“You are now marked as a dishonest person. I accept that will be devastating for you,” she told Fligg. “Seventy thousand pounds is an awful lot of money."

Fligg, 54, pleaded guilty to two offences of benefit fraud involving £52,733 in income support, £18,167 in housing benefit and £5,572 in council tax benefit, committed between June 26, 2005 and April 4, 2012.

The judge jailed her for six months, but suspended the sentence with conditions for a year because of her health problems and because several of her relatives depend on her. The conditions are that she must do 12 months’ supervision and ten days’ specified activities.

She will return to court in August to learn which of her assets will be confiscated to repay the money she had taken by fraud.

York Crown Court heard Fligg originally claimed benefits legitimately after she separated from her husband. But when the couple were reconciled, she did not tell the benefit authorities as she should have done.

Ms Wadoodi said when benefit officials confronted her with documents showing she and her husband were living together as a joint household, she denied it.

Her solicitor advocate Mark Partridge did not give any mitigation after the judge said she would suspend the sentence.

Fligg was caught after a member of the public tipped off City of York Council.

• Stephen Fligg, 56, is currently awaiting sentence at York Crown Court after admitting possessing illegal pornographic images.