A CARDENDEN woman committed benefit fraud of nearly £5,000 because she had assets over the allowed £16,000.

Jane Ritchie's husband had received a pension lump sum pay-out and said she was confused as to whether she was eligible for support.

Ritchie, 52, of Craigside Road, Cardenden, previously admitted that between February 1 and November 21, 2017 at her home address and elsewhere, she did knowingly fail to give prompt notification in the prescribed manner to officials of the Department of Work and Pensions, of a change of circumstances which she knew affected her entitlement to benefit or other payment of advantage namely Employment and Support Allowance, in that she had capital in excess of the prescribed limits and she thereby did receive Employment and Support allowance of £4,622.10 to which she was not entitled.

Depute fiscal, Jamie Hilland, explained that Ritchie had been receiving Employment Support Allowance since October 20, 2016.

"It was understood that there no further income or no capital in excess of £16,000," Mr Hilland said.

"Some time later the Department for Work and Pensions received information that the accused had capital.

"Enquiries were made and the bank statements of the accused and her husband were requested.

"They showed capital in excess of the prescribed limit."

The Court heard that Ritchie's husband received a pension lump sum that was put in to her bank account, £18,000 altogether.

Ritchie told authorities that she was not aware of this down to relationship issues and did not know how much she was eligible to.

She said she had not wanted the money and had withdrawn £10,000 to give to her husband in Dundee and £8,000 in Livingston.

She believed her husband had been in receipt of about £20,000 in total.

It was confirmed that her husband had received a total of £26,000.

Defence solicitor, Aime Allan, said: "Mrs Ritchie is a first-time offender and is quite frankly mortified that she finds herself in Court."

Ms Allan explained that as soon as her client found out she pleaded guilty and she was making payments back.

Sheriff James MacDonald said: "If you had obtained a further few hundred pounds then I would have to consider a custodial sentence."

The Sheriff imposed a sentence of 180 hours unpaid work.