A Birmingham businesswoman escaped prison yesterday despite telling a "palpable lie" about burning £90,000 on a barbecue during a bitter legal wrangle with her ex-lover.
Diane Fisher (39) was instead handed a two-year conditional discharge at Birmingham Crown Court after she was found guilty of a single charge under the Insolvency Act.
Judge Alistair McCreath said it was only his wish not to punish Fisher's three children and how unbelievable her story was that had stopped him sending her to jail.
Fisher, of Shrubbery Close, Sutton Coldfield, was convicted of illegally concealing £90,000 she owed former partner Paul Clark to settle a financial dispute by a jury earlier this month.
During the trial, the prosecution alleged Fisher may have used some of the cash to help fund the purchase of a property by her current boyfriend or hidden away part of it in Spain.
Sentencing Fisher, Judge McCreath said: "This is not a trivial offence but I look at what this offence actually involved, which is you telling a palpable lie, and I look to see what it achieved and that is nothing at all.
The court heard how Mr Clark obtained a county court judgment for a 40 per cent interest in the home the couple had shared in Streetly, following the break-up of their relationship.
Fisher had been left owing a large sum of money to her former partner.
She took out a loan of £92,353 with the Cheltenham & Gloucester which was secured on the property and later petitioned for bankruptcy.
During a bankruptcy hearing, Fisher claimed she had destroyed the money on a barbecue on Friday October 4, 2002 after getting drunk.
Confiscation proceedings against Fisher will now be held on a date to be fixed by the court.