A 38-year-old benefit fraudster who claimed £8,710 to which she wasn’t entitled has been put on probation for 12 months.

Jennifer Anne Cowie failed to declare money two ex-partners were paying to her as well as two accounts.

She admitted three counts of benefit fraud and is already paying back the money at a rate of £15 per week, deducted from her benefits.

Prosecuting advocate Barry Swain told the court that Cowie’s benefits claim had not been fraudulent from the outset.

Cowie started claiming income support benefits from January 2021.

However, a few weeks after this, she received money from two former partners.

She also failed to declare a Paypal account and a bank account at Barclays.

A probation report said that Cowie had mental health issues and was unsuitable for community service.

She told probation that the money she had received had been ‘gifts’ and she had not realised she had to declare it.

She also said that some of the money in the Paypal account was won via Sky Vegas, a gambling website.

Defence advocate Ian Kermode entered a basis of plea for his client, in which Cowie said the payments from her former partners had been periodic and not regular.

She accepted that she should have notified the Department of Health and Social Care when her circumstances changed, but said that she had not fully understood what had to be put on the forms.

Mr Kermode reiterated that Cowie’s benefits claim had been lawful initially, and said that all the overpaid benefits had been spent on living expenses, as she was a single parent struggling financially.

The advocate asked for credit to be given for the guilty pleas and Cowie’s admissions during an interview at Markwell House.

High Bailiff Jayne Hughes said: ‘This was a significant overpayment.

‘A significant amount of money taken from the Isle of Man Treasury to which you were not entitled.’

The High Bailiff said that she had taken into account that Cowie had begun repaying the money and that the claim was not fraudulent from the outset.

Cowie, who lives at Lheannag Park in Douglas, was also ordered to pay £50 prosecution costs by September 15.