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13 Feb 2015

Mother & daughter eventually convicted of long-term benefit fraud

A mother and daughter who claimed they were so disabled they could barely walk stole £50,000 while working in hospitals, a court has heard.

Wendy Perry, 66, took £28,500 of taxpayers’ money over five years working as a medical secretary, while her daughter Nicola Manson-Perry, 48, stole £20,400 as an accounts clerk over nine years.

Both women, who shared a home in Wednesbury, West Midlands, received thousands of pounds worth of Disability Living Allowance pay-outs after claiming they could hardly walk unaided.

Perry claimed she had to hold onto the wall for balance to ensure she did not fall while walking to her desk at Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich. She also claimed she had difficulty communicating and filling in forms and even increased the pay-out by stating she needed constant care both day and night.

But Perry was caught when DWP investigators spent four days secretly filming her walking to her car at the hospital in April 2013. The clear footage shows Perry, who even parked in a disabled bay, strolling to her vehicle quickly without any aids and with no sign of a limp.

Investigators then widened their probe to include her daughter after it was discovered Manson-Perry was also picking up DLA pay-outs by claiming it took her ten minutes to walk two metres (7ft).

Both women were arrested by police at their home in August 2013 - but maintained they were innocent of any benefit fraud.

However, they were both convicted of failing to report a change in circumstances after separate trials at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Perry, who has worked for the NHS since 1995, is due to be sentenced on March 6. Manson-Perry was spared jail when she was sentenced yesterday to 34 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

Judge Robin Onions told her:
At some stage your mobility significantly increased and I am satisfied you knew that. Two work colleagues said they did not notice any restriction to your mobility. At no stage did you need mobility aids as you walked from your car to the office and walked along corridors to meetings. You convinced yourself that because you had other medical problems this, in some sense, justified you in continuing in this unjustified claim. You should now discuss with your mother how you are jointly going to pay back the debt you owe to the state.
The court heard Manson-Perry, who is married without children, had been employed by the NHS since 2004 and worked as a £22,000-a-year accounts clerk at Birmingham City Hospital.

At one stage she claimed it took her ten minutes to walk just two metres but colleagues told the DWP that they never noticed any restriction to her mobility.

She claimed to have a back condition and difficulty with her knee, while her mother said she had a variety of medical problems.

The court heard the women’s claims were not fraudulent from the outset but neither reported improvements in their condition that affected their right to the benefit.

A spokesman for the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals where the women worked, confirmed they had both been suspended.

They added: ‘The Trust is aware that two members of staff have been found guilty of offences related to benefit fraud. Upon their conviction both members of staff were suspended whilst formal investigations are ongoing to assess whether disciplinary action should be taken. The formal investigations are expected to conclude in March.’

Source with video

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again, not fraud from the onset but then their condition improved.

They must have had sick notes to claim DLA. Perhaps their GP would care to comment on their ability to walk, then not walk, then able to walk.

Once one family member gets DLA, others chance their arm.

Anonymous said...

I thought you couldnt claim DLA until you had the condition for 6 months, so having a broken leg, for example, wouldnt qualify. So I cant see how you could be unable to walk, long term, and then recover.

There are days when half the claims I deal with, they are either on ESA or DLA or both.