9 Mar 2015

Benefit fraud investigation took years

A clairvoyant who swindled almost £70,000 in disability benefit by claiming he could barely was jailed after he was filmed working out in a gym.

Spiritualist Timothy Abbott, 53, conned the taxpayer out of thousands of pounds in disability, council tax and housing benefits along with his wife Jeanette, 46.

The couple pocketed a total of £170,000 during their 16-year scam, including Mr Abbott taking £35,496 in incapacity benefit and £22,848 in disability living allowance.

The medium was filmed lifting heavy dumbbells, using an exercise bike, rowing machine and running on a treadmill and pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances.

Mr Abbott also admitted conning HMRC out of £9,532 by failing to pay income tax or national insurance contributions.

Meanwhile his wife falsely claimed £19,477 in disability allowance and £713 in incapacity benefit, along with £1,000 in council tax benefit, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.

Investigators filmed her bending down and carrying a heavy shoulder bag while on a shopping trip in 2012.

She also failed to pay £37,000 worth of income support [sic] and conned Staffordshire County Council out of £44,000 in housing benefits.

On his website, Abbott is described as being one of Britain's most 'evidential platform Mediums'. It goes on to say he was aware of the spirit world from the age of 19 before he 'embarked on his journey of development' by studying for over 30 years.

His services are apparently in demand in countries such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Canada.

He and his wife lived together in a modern £200,000 detached house in Stafford until their scam, which went on for 16 years between 1998 and 2014, was rumbled.

Mr Abbott - who advertises himself as an 'international spiritualist clairvoyant medium and tutor' - was jailed for eight months.

Mrs Abbott admitted three counts of failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances, one count of making a false statement and one of falsely obtaining benefits by deception. She was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

A proceeds of crime hearing on June 30 will determine how much the couple must pay back.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mrs Abbott said: 'It has been two and half years of hell and I don't really want to talk about it as my husband got put away yesterday. It's killing me. In our opinion the truth has not been fully told and we feel very unfairly treated.'

Ah, that old chestnut

Source with video

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