Two convicted of disability fraud after council investigation
A criminal investigation has uncovered a nearly decade-long disability fraud against a council .
Elizabeth Byrne, 59, of Abbey Wood, exaggerated the level of care she needed, which was provided by her neighbour, Karolyne Anderson, 58, for more than nine years, and paid for by Greenwich council.
In reality, the pair were cashing in and splitting the wages paid directly to Mrs Anderson by the council for Ms Byrne’s care.
Both women pleaded guilty at trial at Woolwich Crown Court, having been charged with conspiracy to defraud the council of nearly £94,000.
Ms Byrne and Mrs Anderson were sentenced on February 23 to a two-year and one-year suspended prison sentence, respectively.
Ms Byrne had stated that she had disabilities that meant she needed to use a wheelchair outside the house and couldn’t be outside the property or drive without a carer being with her at all times.
After council officers became suspicious, investigators carried out surveillance and discovered this was far from the truth.
They spotted Ms Byrne walking unaided and even driving around alone. During the surveillance her accomplice and supposed carer Mrs Anderson was not seen to visit Ms Byrne’s house, despite living just over the road.
In addition to the surveillance, the council obtained copies of bank statements that revealed that as soon as Greenwich council had paid Mrs Anderson her wages, half was transferred to Ms Byrne.
Greenwich councillor Ivis Williams said: “It’s beyond the pale that someone would try to take advantage of a scheme designed to support people who provide vital care for vulnerable residents.”
Pictured top: Woolwich Town Hall, where Greenwich council holds its council meetings (Picture: Joe Coughlan)
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