Donna Tithecott, 54, from Lifton, West Devon, received £55,000 (US$91,300; RM287,820) over nine years from generous British Government in benefits. The free money was paid to her as part of housing and council tax benefits, income support and employment and support allowance. At first glance, this looks like a normal case in UK as any British citizens can claim a variety of financial benefits.
However, this woman actually is the co owner of a Spanish holiday home – Casa de Jordan – which was bought in 2004 for 45,000 Euros and is now worth around 111,000 Euros, roughly £94,000 (US$156,000; RM491,900). In addition, Donna also bought two further properties but these were derelict farm buildings of nominal value. What this means was she basically cheated and swindled £55,000 in benefits.
Welcome to UK “Social Security System”, whereby as a British citizen, you can claim various financial benefits – Jobseeker’s Benefits, Housing Benefits, Maternity Allowance, Childcare Benefits and the list goes on. There are basically 16 types of welfare benefits claimable in Britain. In 2011-2012 alone, total welfare expenditure totalled a mind-boggling £160.2 billion (US$266 billion; RM838 billion).
In Donna’s case above, she claimed the properties were bought by her ex-husband who she never lived with – using money he had borrowed from her. And she claimed she did not benefit from these deals. She was found guilty by Exeter Crown Court. Amusingly, the court allows her to pay back £2.50 a week to the Department of Work and Pensions and £5 a week to Torridge Council, from her £40 a week in benefits.
This simply means it will take 130 years to repay money she had “cheated”, and Judge Graham Cottle actualy allows that because somehow he believes she’s freaking poor. If that was not enough to make you laugh, the judge actually said to confiscate money from Spain would be complicated. In reality, it’s superbly easy to cheat benefits in UK, as long as you’re a good liar.
A woman on income support failed to mention winning £95,000 on game show Deal or No Deal. Her mother said it didn’t really count – because she had given it all away to a drug dealer. Yet another “single” mother said her husband didn’t live with the family, but in a tent at the bottom of their garden. Her story got busted when investigators pointed out that she didn’t have a garden (*grin*).
A nightclub security guard said he did not think he had to declare his work because it was at night. Innovative lies get better when one man actually told a judge his dog ate warning letters from the council. Another man cheated housing benefit for a reason, it seems – he owed his landlady some money and she would chase him around the house in high heels, “brandishing a sex toy” and demanding “payment in kind”.
A study by UK Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed that the total spending on benefits and tax credits is expected to reach £212.1 billion (US$352 billion; RM1,109 billion) by 2014-15. For genuine cases, the stories were equally jaw dropping. For example, Peter Rolfe is a 64-year-old jobless father who has received a whopping £500,000 in benefits for 20 years. Apparently, Peter claimed he has had 26 children by 15 different women.
Peter, who lives in Newport, Isle of Wight bitched his local council’s “refusal” to give him a bigger house violated his human rights. While he claims £800 a week in handouts, he said his present house is not big enough and like a “prison cell”. If that was not enough, Peter Rolfe had taken to criticize the British government benefits cap because it means his 26 children couldn’t get PlayStations and XBoxes, like other kids.
Britain’s benefits system turned for the worse beginning of this year by European Union rules allowing immigrants to come and live and work unrestricted in the UK. And who can blame Britons for worrying, considering two million Romanians and Bulgarians who were already living in Spain and Italy had started rushing into UK simply because they could earn between 40% to 50% more.
Romanian Ion Lazar says life for him, his wife Maria and their children has been rosy since his arrival in London early of this year. The 36-year-old father-of-three has been sending home £800-a-week as part of a plan to extract a five-figure fortune from the country he insists has “given me everything”. Indeed it’s true what Mr Lazar said – Britain is a “country with much money”
Mr Lazar shamelessly admitted “I know it is very, very easy to take benefit in England. She’s give me home free, She’s give me money free. She’s give me everything”. He had a grand plan – to rake in as much cash from benefits. Mr Lazar’s wife Maria has remained in their native southern Romania along with the couple’s three children. Mr Lazar is in London with his sister, her husband and their neighbours Dmitri and Stefana.
He further added during an interview “I need maybe £40,000 for my family and I think this money I can make in one year, maybe two … I want to make one good house with three rooms, one bathroom, a fridge, plasma TV … My family is very important and I love my family. For them, I do everything.” And what does he plan to do if his target of ripping £40,000 fails?
Surprisingly, he said “If I don’t have food, I’ll go and steal. The pocket, the paper and sometimes in the house if there is nobody, take, yeah.” But unlike some lazy Britons who rely soley on benefits, Mr Lazar has supplemented his bank balance by working as a scrap collector. But the method he used to increase his fortunes was equally amazing, if not mind-boggling.
Mr Lazar openly declared “I’m going to take any metal from the street because I need money. And if I see something, I’m going to the home. I knock on the door and I’m ask if there is any metal. If it’s outside, from garden I take, no I don’t ask, because it’s outside.” Indeed, the British Government had opened the floodgates of heaven to these migrants.
As one of the Romanians put it – “Your benefits system is crazy – I would actually say it was sick. It is like walking down the road and seeing a sack full of cash that has been dropped, picking it up and no one saying anything. If my people bring more children in, or have more children here, there are more benefits. So, of course, they have babies”.
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