A Haverhill woman who kept claiming benefits despite having started her own business has narrowly escaped being sent immediately to prison.
Lisa Wallace, 41, of Hales Barn Road, appeared on Tuesday at Ipswich Crown Court.
The mother of six had pleaded guilty to two offences of failing to notify a change in her circumstances whilst claiming benefits.
The court heard that over almost two years, Wallace claimed £15,000 on housing and council tax benefit and income support that she was not entitled to.
Wallace had initially made a legitimate claim for benefits but did not inform St Edmundsbury Borough Council or the Department for Work and Pensions when she started her own cleaning and ironing business.
Wallace was given an eight month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid community work and made subject to a 20 week curfew.
Judge David Goodin told Wallace that she had only narrowly avoided being sent straight to prison.
Appearing for Wallace, Hugh Vass said she had already repaid £3,000 and would pay back more from a contract she was due to start shortly.