29 Mar 2016

What actual punishment have these benefit thieves had?

Arthur McCarroll, 58, claimed it took him four minutes to walk just three metres (9.8ft) and said he was so 'severely disabled' he was in danger of falling on a daily basis. His wife Susan, 65, said she couldn't cook a meal and needed help going to the toilet as well as getting in and out of bed and chairs.

But the benefits cheats were caught out when they were filmed lifting heavy goods by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) investigators. Undercover footage shows the pair carrying hanging baskets filled with flowers as well as loading boxes into a car.

A court heard Susan had wrongly claimed £35,040 in disability benefits since 2002 while Arthur had raked in £29,203.

The couple, from Kingswinford, West Midlands, both pleaded guilty to fraud when they appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court last week.

Arthur was sentenced to 36 weeks in prison suspended for two years while Susan was handed a 26-week sentence suspended for two years. They were also both given a six-week curfew from 7pm until 7am.

Sentencing the pair, magistrate Jayne Pearson said: 'This was a high value fraud that you carried out for your own financial gain. Your greed got the better of you and we take a dim view of such behaviour.'

The court heard Susan was also a regular trader at car boot sales despite her fraudulent disability claims.

Prosecutor Maxine McIntosh said: 'She was in receipt of disability living allowance from 1997 on the grounds that she was severely disabled. In her self assessment claim form, she stated that she had high mobility restriction and needs. But she failed to declare to the DWP when her need for regular care ceased.

'On the claim form she submitted in 2003 she claimed she was unable to walk.'It said she was affected by numerous ailments. She couldn't walk far without discomfort, and had to be with someone when she was outside due to the danger that she may fall. She needed help getting out of her chair, getting in and out of bed, attending to her toilet needs.

'It also said she also needed her husband's help to wash, clean and change her regularly, due to her incontinence. She was unable to prepare or cook a meal because she couldn't cut or chop vegetables or lift pans and could only stand for a few minutes at a time.

'She referred to her husband as being her personal carer. She was involved in the day to day running of the flower business. She regularly attended car boot sales as a trader.

'During surveillance, she was seen to be going about her day to day duties at the flower shop without any problems. She was walking from one room to another and regularly walking to a shop a considerable distance away. She was also filmed at a car boot sale, and her capabilities and mobility seemed to be much improved compared to her claim.'

Speaking about Arthur, Miss McIntosh added: 'He was claiming disability living allowance, incapacity benefit and employment support allowance. His claim stated that he was severely disabled and he had numerous care needs. In November 2011 it stated that he couldn't walk and he was awarded the lower rate of benefit. It stated that he could only walk for three metres before he found himself in severe discomfort and it took him two to four minutes to do that.

'It said he was in danger of falling on a daily basis. It also said he was a high risk heart patient, and there was always a risk he could have a heart attack. Care needs he had included help getting out of a chair. During surveillance, he seemed capable of carrying out day to day duties at his shop.

Two witnesses who were interviewed by investigators said they regularly go into the shop to purchase flowers from him, and they had never seen him need help with carrying out his work.'

James McGowan, defending Susan, said: 'She accepts there has been some improvement and she should have declared her change in circumstances. She has already lost her reputation and her good name and will not be able to regain that, ever.'

Mandeep Gill, defending Arthur, added: 'He has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and is of previous good character.'

Source with pictures

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Recently dealt with a claim where the mother is depressed and gets PIP, yet also get Carers Allowance to look after her disabled son. Her daughter also gets C.A to look after the depressed mother. Not fraud apparently.