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Felixstowe: Benefit cheat was overpaid £17,000 after failing to declare income of more than £3,000 from eBay sales

PUBLISHED: 19:20 01 September 2014 | UPDATED: 19:20 01 September 2014

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

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A Felixstowe woman who failed to notify a local council she was making money from selling goods on eBay while claiming benefits has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Celia Wallis, 54, who also failed to declare the existence of a Barclays bank account to Suffollk Coastal District Council on a beneift claim form, was overpaid £17,000, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Wallis, of Gosford Way, Felixstowe admitted dishonestly making a false statement in October 2004 with a view to claiming housing and council tax benefit and dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstance affecting her entitlement to benefit on or around October 31 2008 by failing to to inform SCDC that she was in receipt of income from trading on eBay.

Sentencing her to a 12 week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordering her to do 120 hours unpaid work in the community, Recorder Christopher Makey said the total overpayment was £17,000.

Laura Kenyon, prosecuting, said Wallis had been awarded benefits while she was working as a part-time cleaner and although she had notified SCDC when she changed cleaning jobs and when her son moved in and out of her home she failed to notify the council of earnings of £3-£6,000 from selling items on eBay.

Miss Kenyon said Wallis had also failed to notify the council of a Barclays bank account.

When Wallis was interviewed about the alleged offences she said some of the money going through her bank accounts related to gambling.

When she was asked about her eBay earnings she said “no comment” and asked about her Barclays account Wallis said she wanted to take legal advice, said Miss Kenyon.

Lynne Shirley for Wallis said her client hadn’t acted fraudulently from the outset and was remorseful for what she had done.

“She had difficulties with money and she still has debts,” said Miss Shirley.

She said Wallis’s health had suffered during the investigation into the offences and while she was waiting to find out if she was going to face charges.

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