A BILLERICAY pensioner who had nine undeclared bank accounts has been found guilty of benefit fraud.

Phyllis Huet, 71, of Hillhouse Court, The Spinney, Billericay, was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, ordered to pay costs of £1,137 and a victim surcharge of £80 at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on August 22.

She was charged with making false housing and council tax benefit claims in September 2011.

Overpayments totalled £6,000, which Huet will have to pay back to Basildon Council.

Councillor Stuart Sullivan, Basildon Council’s cabinet member for resources said: “It beggars belief how benefit cheats believe they can just take taxpayers money and divert it from people who genuinely warrant our support.

“Fraud is stealing and benefit fraud is stealing from the needy.”