Video capture lands ‘disabled’ dancer in court to face benefit fraud charge

By Calvin Palmer

A man who claimed to be crippled by arthritis and claimed £20,000 ($30,270) in disability benefits was captured on video taking part in a jive dancing show in Manchester, England.

Terence Read, 61, of Blackley, was seen by benefit fraud investigators energetically dancing the Charleston and Lindy Hop at a show held at the Printworks leisure complex.

It turned out that Read was a regular performer on the dance exhibition circuit.

Read first began claiming disability allowance in 1995 when he was genuinely ill.

He was awarded the highest rate for mobility and care costs, which is reserved for those who need help with bathing and using and toilet.

By 2005, Read’s health was much improved but he failed to notify the authorities of his change in circumstances and kept claiming the benefit.

Read today pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to failing to promptly notify the authorities of a change in circumstances. He will be sentenced next month.

Following a tip off, investigators at the  Department of Work and Pensions set up a surveillance operation in a bid to catch Read out.

A compilation video shows Read loading heavy boxes into the back of a van.

He can also be seen being applauded by a crowd while dancing at an exhibition in the Printworks. Read is seen wearing a jazzy suit, with a bow tie and a hat, and performs a series of challenging steps with a female partner.

Later, he is shown leading a group of dancers through a lively routine.

By the time Read’s benefits were stopped, he had cheated taxpayers out of £19,915.90 ($30,142.88).

Since then, the authorities have deducted £2,158 ($3,266) from other benefits Read receives in a bid to claw back the missing cash.

A spokesman for the Department and Work and Pensions said: “In addition to the sentence imposed by the court, the Department will always seek full reimbursement of all monies stolen by a benefit fraudster, to ensure that they do not benefit financially from their criminal activity.”

It is a great shame the Inland Revenue is not quite as vigilant in regard to the tax dodges by the rich and privileged to avoid paying tax. How many millions of pounds end up in off-shore bank accounts, which rightfully should go into the government’s coffers?

A sum of £20,000 ($30,270) probably represents the amount lost to the Exchequer every second from well-heeled tax cheats, thanks to their clever and creative financial advisers.

Read has simply learned from the great and the good, just take the example of the Members of Parliament who fiddled their expenses at the taxpayers’ expense, his only crime was to break the Eleventh Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Get Caught.”

[Based on a report by the Manchester Evening News.]

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