A woman who claimed £65,000 in disability benefit over 21 years but spent holidays scuba diving and riding quad bikes has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years today (25 September).
Linda Hoey, 58, claimed £65,224 in Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from 1995 to 2016 declaring arthritis and back problems meant she could only walk four metres, could not walk unaided, was unable to bend, and would be housebound without the help of her husband.
However an investigation found Hoey had been in full time employment since 1997, performing physical tasks at odds with a person who had a severe disability.
No walking aids were found at her home and family photos showed her playing pool and sitting on the back of a quad bike. A personalised calendar had images of her scuba diving and Hoey had regularly been playing badminton since 2011.
Hoey also avoided £15,690 in fees from the M6 Toll as she was using a Disability Living Allowance Mobility Exemption Pass Scheme to use the road to travel to and from work.
Ana Coomansingh, from the CPS, said: “Over an extensive period, Linda Hoey lied about her care needs to claim more than £65,000 in disability benefits whilst taking part in activities that people suffering in the way she claimed to be would not be able to do.
“These benefits were for people who were genuinely disabled. The evidence put forward by the CPS showed Hoey was leading a life of physical activity both at work and on holiday.”
Notes to editors:
- Linda Hoey denied two counts of cheating the public revenue and evasion of liability by deception but was convicted by a jury on 28 July after a trial at Stafford Crown Court.
- Ana Coomansingh is a Specialist Prosecutor in the Specialist Fraud Division
- Linda Hoey will now face a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.