"Crippled by arthritis"- the waterskiing benefit cheat who claimed £140,000

A BENEFIT cheat netted £140,000 claiming she had crippling arthritis – but was filmed water-skiing in Florida.  
Janet Curtis, 64, claimed she struggled to walk, was virtually wheelchair-bound, and needed 24-hour care.
In fact, she enjoyed a string of holidays – cruising on the QEII and water-skiing in Florida.
Her crimes were described by council officers as some of the most serious of their kind.
She pleaded guilty to a string of benefit frauds which netted her more than £140,000 over a decade.
She was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Ipswich Crown Court, and is subject to a six-month curfew, from 7pm to 6am.
Curtis, of Douglas Road, Clacton, Essex, will also have to repay all the money she obtained through her dishonesty from Suffolk Coastal Council.
The 64-year-old, formerly of Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, had fraudulently claimed more than £140,000 from Suffolk Coastal District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
She claimed rheumatoid arthritis meant that she could not walk more than two to three metres without extreme discomfort, leaving her virtually wheelchair bound and unable to walk without aids.
She also claimed she was unable to function independently and needed 24-hour care, claiming additional benefit as she said she had a live-in carer and therefore needed an additional bedroom.
But in reality, Curtis enjoyed a series of foreign holidays, cruising on the QEII – and even water-skiing in Florida.
The person Curtis claimed was her carer had in fact never cared for her, and had not even seen her for several years.
She also continued to falsely claim Housing and Council Tax benefits for her home in Martlesham Heath for more than a decade after she had moved out to live with her partner in Clacton.
She handed in fake receipts for care services. But the woman Curtis claimed was her carer had never looked after her and hadn’t even seen her for years.
Curtis also continued to falsely claim housing and council tax benefits for her home in Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, for more than a decade after she had moved out to live with her partner in Clacton.
Her home was raided by Essex Police after a joint probe between council fraud investigators and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Officers seized film footage and photographs of the benefits cheat enjoying an active life and holidaying abroad.
Speaking after the case, council housing boss Doreen Savage said: “This was one of the most prolonged and serious cases of fraud our investigators have ever had to deal with.

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