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North Hykeham benefits fraudster had earned £115k on eBay

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 08, 2012

Lincoln Crown Court

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A Lincolnshire woman who claimed just under £40,000 in benefits while trading on eBay has been jailed for six months.

Fifty-two-year-old Deborah Tumber carried out 16,000 transactions on the internet site and received payments of around £115,000 into her various bank accounts.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the business became so successful that Tumber hired a storage unit and rented her own office.

At the same time Tumber was claiming a string of benefits including incapacity benefit, income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit. In total, Tumber received £18,256 incapacity benefit, £6,633 income support, £11,683 housing benefit and £2,507 council tax benefit.

Nigel Stelling, prosecuting, said: "She claimed incapacity benefit on April 30, 2007 on the basis of being unfit to work due to her medical condition and various declarations were made.

"In October that year she made a claim for income support, again declarations were made on the forms.

"Then in November 2007 she made a claim for housing benefit and council tax benefit, again a written form was submitted."

The court heard the Department of Work and Pensions began an investigation after receiving a tip-off that Tumber was trading on eBay in March 2010. Investigations showed Tumber had been trading on eBay since before claiming the benefits and ceased in February 2011.

In mitigation, the court was told Tumber lost her husband ten years ago and did not realise her trading was fraudulent when she began.

Tumber, of Minevra Way, North Hykeham, pleaded guilty to three charges of fraudulently claiming her benefits. Passing sentence, Recorder Gareth Evans QC told Tumber he had no choice but to send her to prison because of the length of time she had been in business.

Recorder Evans said: "You started trading on eBay and turned it into a business. You were trading enthusiastically on eBay to the extent you required a storage unit and office.

"You knew perfectly well money was being paid into your account."

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  • Roadscource  |  October 10 2012, 12:55PM

    If Douglas Hogg can claim £18k per annum for his gardener plus £1k to get the lawn mown as well as £4,488.48 for "machines and fuel," including a new lawnmower, between £200 and £300 a month for "oil and coal" and lets not forget the classic £2,115 to have the moat cleared ON TOP OF HIS SALARY then why shouldnt Deborah Tumber claim extras?

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  • Roadscource  |  October 09 2012, 6:19PM

    by Linc0lnTriker "Ah Roadrash, what you usually write is nonsense" i wasn't aware id commented on this one but Lincolnbiker wrote "GeorgeSomme, It's probably in your best interest not to question what Roadrash has to say" now im wondering what ive said...

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  • GeorgeSomme  |  October 09 2012, 4:59PM

    I do know about the Proceeds of Crime Act and I don't beleive the act will be enacted in this case for a couple of reasons, the main one being is the amount which is relatively small in relation to the amount it would cost to recover, and the fact the benefits agency aren't trumpeting that they will attempt to recover it. I do, though, apologise for my previous rudeness.

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  • Linc0lnTriker  |  October 09 2012, 2:35PM

    Ah Roadrash, what you usually write is nonsense, but you've got Lincoln_Biker there. Although why does it have to just be one of the options, I can just picture these 'Bikers' now prancing about in their uniforms, stinking to high heaven, with a smug look of superiority plastered all over thier faces. Congratulations you've certainly put a smile on my face!

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  • Linc0lnTriker  |  October 09 2012, 1:15PM

    "Well it doesn't look like she has been made to pay the money back " George your lack of knowledge of The Procedes of Crime Act 2002 is laughable, but with a bit of help from Saxilby_Mick, you will have now, hopefully been educated on this.

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  • Roadscource  |  October 09 2012, 12:58PM

    Lincoln_Biker "Roadrash" ? But whilst we are on the subject of names theres something you could probably enlighten me on. As a motorcyclist myself with 23 years experience behind the tank ive often wondered how one, ahem, progresses from motorcyclist to "Biker". Does it involve a uniform of some kind, or perhaps a regression in personal hygiene or do you just think it gives you some sort of elite status over all other motorists?

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  • 917199  |  October 09 2012, 11:20AM

    I think it shows a failure and how easy it is to claim benefits, like it says in this story, fill out some forms and receive some money, it's that easy apparently! I wonder what she was selling on eBay, might have to pick up where she left off.

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  • Saxilby_Mick  |  October 09 2012, 9:38AM

    I have no sympathy for this woman who has systematically milked the system and lined her own pockets at the expense of tax-payers. The Proceeds Of Crime Act makes provision that assets can be recovered from people who have benefitted from their criminal enterprise, and I sincerely hope this will be persued in this case.

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  • InsideStory  |  October 08 2012, 6:35PM

    I don't condone what this person as done but i don't suppose it's any different to wealthy business people fiddling the taxman but they find ways around prosecution .The authority's know big business and the wealthy do it but turn a blind eye to the goings on .

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  • GeorgeSomme  |  October 08 2012, 4:26PM

    @lin0lnTriker. Your suopposed knowledge of the british penal system is woeful, a person sentenced to 6 months will serve at most half that, so it will be 12 weeks, I'm not entirely sure who 'Big John' is, maybe a fantasy figure of yours, but in the open female establishment she will end up her biggest problem will be whether to use her 'spends' on cigs or make-up.

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