A 52-year-old mother-of-one was a woman who, whilst revelling in a champagne lifestyle, had falsely claimed almost £50,000 in benefits between 2005 and 2012. Tracy Johnson claimed to suffer from agoraphobia, and to be incapable of walking over 16ft without assistance.
However, this deceptive fraudster was, unknown to the authorities, using her ill-gotten gains to travel the world, writing travel guide books and articles. She was, theoretically, so unwell that she could not leave her own house, yet still she spent four months stint in India, and took enjoyed shopping spree trips to Madrid and New York.
This impudent trickster spent time writing travel guides, cookbooks and steamy novels, as well as a six month stint as a tour guide in Argentina – all the while in receipt of cold winter payments from the DWP. She even spent a long weekend sight-seeing in London just 24 hours after telling benefits officials how helpless she was.
In early April this year, a South Wales,Merthyr Crown Court jury convicted Johnson on 13 seperate, charges, all relating to her having been in fraudulent receipt of a variety of benefits, from Council Tax Benefit and Child Tax Credits, Disability Living Allowance, Income Support and Housing Beneits to the tune of £48,000, believe it or not
Court recorder Andrew Grubb had no hesitation in sending her to prison for one year, after she the Frome, Somerset woman was brought to trial having been apprehended at the home in Llandrindod Wells, Powys, of her mother. Crown Prosecution Service spokesman Andrew Penhale commented that this had been one of the worst cases he had ever seen of such fraud.
The unrepentant Tracy Johnson had undoubtedly plotted her blatant and bare-faced fraud, in order to make use of taxpayer money. Her illicit earnings helped fund a lavish lifestyle of globe-trotting and excesses, all through the exploitation of a system meant to give much-needed support to the most vulnerable, taking over £1,000 monthly, over five years, even running a South America tour guide business.
This supposedly disabled woman even earned money working as a supple wedding photographer, in 2011c publishing the book Last Tango in Buenos Aries, about her time living in Argentina. She could not resist bragging on Facebook, which of course led to her downfall. Perhaps her spell as a guest at her majesty’s pleasure will give her pause for thought, especially as she will be facing a repayment issue upon her release. If she fails to comply, well, that cell will no doubt be kept warm, and no one could deserve it more.
I have been writing for pleasure for half a century, but only started writing for money around 1994. Since then I have had a few thousand articles, stories and poems published on line and in print all round the world.
I am now 63 years old, male, from Burnley in the UK, and apart from writing, I love to read - mainly crime thrillers, conspiracy theory books and science fiction, though I also love films, gardening and chatting with my wife who is also my best friend.
I enjoy feedback from readers, and interaction with fellow writers. Anyone who gets in touch with me will get a reply. I am always happy to read and comment upon the work of others, as I think we writers are something of a definite sub-species of humanity!