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12 May 2017

Judge criticises 'arrogant, boorish' benefit fraud model

A model jailed after falsely claiming more than £50,000 in benefits now has four weeks to pay the money back.

Carina Reid, who lived in a flat in Chelsea's exclusive King's Road, was jailed for three years last May at Isleworth Crown Court after she claimed tens of thousands of pounds in housing and council tax. The 34-year-old, who also worked as a beautician, was caught out when investigators discovered her boasting about her extravagant lifestyle on Facebook.

Reid claimed benefits to help fund holidays to Hong Kong, Dubai, Spain, Portugal, France and Switzerland. She then took to Facebook to post photos of herself enjoying the trips and sipping champagne in Harrods and dining at top London establishments including Scotts, the Dorchester Hotel and the Berkeley Hotel. She told Chelsea and Kensington Council she had no savings, taken no holidays between 2009 and 2014 and accepted free food at a mosque.

Her defence counsel Sonya Saul, said 'every effort' had been made by her client to recuperate the money. Miss Saul told the judge: 'I have explained to her the need for this matter to be resolved.'

However Judge Douglas Marks-Moore dismissed the claims, labelling Reid 'arrogant' and 'extremely boorish'. The judge told the court: 'I am sorry, this is pie in the sky. She is very arrogant in my view when she comes into this court. She has had ample opportunity I am afraid to get this money. How long has this been going on for, over a year?'

Eight of the nine dishonesty charges related to Reid’s failure to declare savings of £180,000 in 19 separate bank accounts

He added: 'She knows very well where her things were and where the money was spent. There were photographs posted on her Facebook page of her enjoying the high life. In any event this was a significant amount of money that could have been used by social services.'

A profile of Reid on her beauty business website Enhance said she was a ‘senior medical aesthetician’ who had ‘worked with a wide range of clientele, from VIP film stars, TV and radio presenters as well as on magazine shoots and celebrity events.’

Her King’s Road flat was purchased with a deposit of £20,000, and she got a mortgage based on her true tax returns which showed that Enhance was a successful business. She had also sent £116,000 abroad in 2013-2014 to acquire property in Dubai, and her LinkedIn profile indicated her desire to expand her business to Dubai and Los Angeles.

Eight of the nine dishonesty charges related to Reid’s failure to declare savings of £180,000 in 19 separate bank accounts. She was convicted of nine charges of fraud by false representation.

The judge allowed Reid an extra four weeks to recuperate the monies she stole from the taxpayer before she is due for release later this year.

Judge Marks-Morre said she had been 'extremely boorish', adding: 'Yes, I know the words that I am using.' He told her: 'You don't listen to a word I have to say anyway. You have not got a hope in hell of getting an extension. You have been playing the system in my view.'

Reid will be back in court on June 30.

Source

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