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County Armagh man forced to pay back £20k of benefits or face jail time

A county Armagh man is being forced to pay back £20,000 in ill-gotten benefits.

The Social Security Agency Financial Investigation Unit obtained a Confiscation Order to the value of £20,000 against John Russell, 49 of Ballyhannan Park, Portadown at Craigavon Crown Court recently.

Russell 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.

During his claim to benefits the defendant 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.

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

At the confiscation hearing the Court granted a Confiscation Order in amount of £20,000 with a 12 month prison sentence in default of non-payment.

He has until 24 October 2015 to satisfy the order.

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