Man must repay £20,000

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A man who unlawfully claimed benefits has been ordered to repay £20,000 or face a 12-month prison sentence.

John Russell (49), of Ballyhannon Park, had claimed Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance and Housing Benefit on the grounds he was a lone parent and had no savings or other source of 
income.

However, he failed to declare that he held significant funds in his bank accounts and that he was trading on eBay.

Due to his failure to report his true circumstances he received £39,836 in benefits he was not entitled to over a seven-year period.

At a recent hearing at Craigavon Crown Court, the Social Security Agency Financial Investigation Unit obtained a confiscation order to the value of £20,000.

Mr Russell has until October 24, 2015 to satisfy the order, or a 12-month prison sentence will be imposed for default of non-payment.

The defendant on August 29, 2014 pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to notify the Social Security Agency of a change in his true circumstances.