Louis Foudji, 34, lied to his partner about his immigration status and had three children with her before he was finally arrested.
Leeds Crown Court heard Foudji came to the UK in 2004 on a 12-month visa but managed to obtain a fake Portuguese passport under a different name. He was then able to stay as a member of the European Union.
Michele Stuart-Lofthouse, prosecuting, said Foudji then obtained a driving licence which helped him get work with five different employers. While in Leeds he met his partner and they had three children together and were able to get a council house.
Between 2007 and 2010 Foudji was able to claim £35,000 in working and child tax credits despite earning £52,500 during the same period.
Foudji’s deception was uncovered when his partner, also a Cameroon national, applied for permission to remain in the UK and submitted his fake passport as part of her application.
Immigration officials spotted the forgery and went to arrest Foudji at their family home in Moresdale Lane, Seacroft on September 25 last year.
His partner said he was not at home but officers discovered him hiding in the loft.
He pleaded guilty to seven offences of fraud, possessing a false passport, possessing a false driving licence and obtaining benefits by deception.
Michael Miller, for Foudji, said his client pleaded guilty to the offences at the earliest opportunity and it had had a devastating affect on his partner and children.
Mr Miller said she had now applied for asylum status to remain in the UK on humanitarian grounds,
Jailing him. Recorder Richard Woolfall said: “Not only have you committed fraud you have also deceived you partner.”
He faces deportation after completing his prison sentence.