Benefits cheat falsely claimed £245,000 by pretending to be paralysed

Benefits cheat falsely claimed £245,000 by pretending to be paralysed from the neck down

Brian Matthews, 51, was held by a court after discovering that he has been claiming incapacity benefit, industrial injuries benefit, disability living allowance and housing benefit for the past 16 years by using different names.

Matthews, a ‘manipulative man’ claimed that he has no feeling from the neck down. He was also able to convince the doctors that he was paraplegic and quadriplegic. Because of this, Brian Matthews of Penzance, Cornwall was able to falsely claim £250,000 in benefits.

He appeared at the Truro Crown Court and pleaded guilty to six counts of making a false representation in claiming benefits and two counts of fraud. His offences range from November of 2001 to February of 2016.
According to the court that heard Matthews case, he was able to make around £245, 000 in claims. Jim Tilbury, Matthews representative said that some of the figures were contested but this sum total was broadly accurate.

Tilbury also asked the court to consider conducting an independent investigation so as to establish Matthews mobility. Mr Tilbury’s statement includes: “Mr Matthews accepts he is not a paraplegic but he does consider that he has some weakness and loss of power in his limbs.

“It has been a variable condition and he [Brian Matthews] is presently unable to stand without aids.”

Jo Martin of the prosecuting party said that the Crown Prosecution Service questioned the need for a medical report. They are concerned that Mr. Matthews is doing the same thing that he did to the Department of Work and Pensions for the past 16 years.

“Mr Matthews maintained for a long period of time that he was both a paraplegic and quadriplegic. Over a period of time, he was able to convince the doctors because of the trust that they consider was fitting between a patient and the GP.

“The doctors didn’t check, and they took his word for it.”

Martin also said the CPS have evidence that shows Matthews being able to walk in Penzance, being able to push his wheelchair-bound wife into a surgery, being able to climb a steep flight of stairs to view a property, and he was able to park his scooter a quarter of a mile from his home.

In addition, Ms. Martin said that the CPS deems this action as an inappropriate delay and they are doubtful whether about what the doctor will find and how it will assist the court proceedings. As the CPS sees it, Mr. Matthews is considerably manipulative.

Despite this, Judge Robert Linford accepted the petition to have an independent medical examination and report and said that it may be useful for the prison authorities.

Judge Linford, reserving his sentencing decision until later, said to Matthews: “Disabled or not, there is an overwhelming likelihood that you will receive a considerable prison sentence.”
The case was adjourned for Matthews to see a neurologist. However, he will return to court for his sentencing at a date in April 2018.

If you have been implicated of benefit fraud, have been asked to attend an interview under caution, or are subject to a benefit fraud prosecution, we can help. We have over 20 years of experience in dealing with all types of benefit fraud cases. Our dedicated team are experts in the field of benefit fraud and can even supply training for the Citizens Advice Bureau and other advice agencies in this specialised area of law. If you have any enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us at 0117-314-6400 or email us at  ted@southwestlaw.org.uk

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