An asylum seeker who received £30,000 in benefits after lying about her right to remain in the UK was caught out after her abusive ex reported her to the authorities.
Christiana Roberts pleaded guilty to charges of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit and knowingly being concerned in the fraudulent payment of tax credits.
Kirklees magistrates heard that Roberts failed to declare that due to her Grenada citizenship she had no right to stay in the UK when she made an application for benefits.
Roberts, of Ashbrow Road, Fartown, said she was fearful of returning to the country after suffering domestic violence at the hands of her former husband.
The 44-year-old was previously sentenced by a crown court judge for seeking leave to remain in the UK by deception.
Magistrates heard that Roberts stated when she entered the UK that she was a Congolese national.
In December 2011 she made a claim to the Department for Work and Pensions for income support in her previous family name of Bahindwa.
This application was made on the basis that she was a lone parent with legitimate entry into the UK.
Alex Bozman, prosecuting, said: “Further enquiries revealed that this wasn’t correct and there was an investigation into her circumstances.
“These revealed that she was Grenadian (and) had failed to declare that she didn’t have a right to stay in the UK.
“The value of the deception carried out was £30,369.”
In May 2014 Roberts was handed a community order by Leeds Crown Court for seeking to remain in the UK by deception and making a false statement to obtain a benefit.
Andy Day, mitigating, said it was true that his client had originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
She left in 1992 due to the “atrocious political state” and fled to South Africa where she sought asylum.
She later met and married a Grenada citizen and they had a daughter but the relationship was abusive.
Mr Day said: “She found herself in a situation where she was being controlled and had to get out.
“When she got to England, fearing having to return to this abusive relationship in Grenada, she made an application for asylum on the only basis she felt she could.
“ This was of the basis of Congolese nationality and she was granted leave to remain in the UK.
“She was in a desperate situation at the time and she felt this was the only way she could gain permission to stay in this country.”
Mr Day added that following his client’s crown court case her leave to remain in the UK wasn’t immediately rescinded and she hadn’t understood the complexities of the benefits system and continued to make claims.
Magistrates were told that Roberts’ ex had followed her back to the UK and reported her to the authorities when she refused to return with her.
They ordered a full report from probation staff before sentencing her.