Laura Miskell lied about her income to the Inland Revenue - who actually paid her wages - to increase the amount of tax credits she would get.
Over the seven year fraud the 43-year-old, of Washington, Tyne and Wear, failed to declare her partner was living with her, which would also have affected her entitlement to cash.
Her deception was uncovered by a random computer check and her bosses put her under surveillance, which proved she did not live alone.
Between 2005 and 2012 she was paid £54,722 she was not entitled to. Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told Newcastle Crown Court:
This was, in fact, a long term benefit fraud. At the time of the commission she was employed by the tax credit office, who she subsequently defrauded. She was personal secretary to a senior member of staff. She had no contact with the public and was not involved in processing claims. Her relationship with a long-term partner came to an end in 2005, however, they reconciled after three months and she failed to declare this. Throughout the period of 2005 to the detection of the offences she under-declared her income in order to increase the amount of tax credits she was to be paid.Miskell admitted ten charges of fraudulent activity.
She has since resigned from her post.
Judge Simon Hickey told her: 'You were employed by the very tax credit office you were obtaining the monies through'.
The judge said Miskell deserved to go to jail but said she could be spared for the sake of her children and sentenced her to ten months behind bars, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours unpaid work.
Judge Hickey told her: 'You richly deserve to go to prison but your children do not deserve to be deprived of a mother.'
That's how to get away with being punished properly.
Christopher Morrison, defending, said Miskell helps out at a church, is of positive character and is 'highly remorseful and ashamed of her actions' which were motivated by debt and mounting financial pressures.
Mr Morrison said: 'It is not suggested in any way she abused her position of employment within Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in order to effect this deception, continue this deception or conceal this deception.'