A self-proclaimed psychic from Stafford, England named Tim Abbott has been receiving disability checks for supposedly being too hurt to work but was recently secretly filmed hitting the treadmill, using the rowing machine, and lifting weights with no problems.
His spouse, Janette, also lied about a disability and was receiving benefits. She claimed to have multiple sclerosis and that this prevented her from being able to work a normal job. Aside from claiming these benefits, she also received an allowance called a ‘carers allowance’ for looking after her husband whom was supposedly disabled and needed help doing things.
They must now pay back a sum of $183,450 between the both of them.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing was held at Stafford Crown Court on August 10th and the lying psychic and his wife were told that if they do not repay the money back in the span of three months, they could each spend up to two years in prison.
54-year-old Tim Abbott calls himself an ‘evidencial platform medium’ and a ‘spiritualist clairvoyant medium and tutor’ on his website. During the hearing, the court heard about how between 1998 and 2014, Abbott claimed $22,848 in disability living allowance and $35,496 in incapacity benefits
This all fell back on him when he was secretly filmed attending the gym and exerting himself with no signs of physical pain or problems in 2012.
He had a previous hearing in 2014 and during that hearing admitted that he had failed to pay $9,532 in national insurance contributions and income taxes.
The court heard about how the total amount he had accepted was $86,524.
It was determined that his wife’s benefits totaled about $123,022. Over $44,000 of that was in the carers allowance and about $19,477 of it was a disability allowance.
She was also being secretly watched and at one point investigators busted her while out shopping. She was seen shopping and carrying heavy bags around the town center and a supermarket with no issues at all.
Tim Abbott was incarcerated for eight months and she was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence.
He is now a free man and has begun booking customers for his psychic services once again.
The investigation into the couple by the Department for Work and Pensions began thanks to a tip-off they received. A spokesman for the department states that fraudulent claims make it more difficult for individuals who truly do have difficulties and disabilities to get the help they need.
“Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like this show how we are rooting out the unscrupulous minority who are cheating the system and diverting taxpayers’ money from those who really need it. We are determined to find those we suspect of abusing the welfare system by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils,” said the Department for Work and Pensions spokesman.