Jet-set life of £50k benefit cheat9
A MODEL who claimed she was so poor she had to accept free food from her local mosque has been jailed for benefit fraud after boasting of her jet-set lifestyle on Facebook.
Carina Reid, 32, had a £180,000 fortune in 19 bank accounts but still claimed more than £50,000 housing and council tax benefits.
She enjoyed lavish holidays to Hong Kong, Dubai, Spain, Portugal, France and Switzerland.
The beauty salon owner also bought a property on the fashionable King’s Road in Chelsea, west London, with a £20,000 deposit and sent £116,000 abroad to invest in property in Dubai.
But benefits investigators rumbled her when they spotted her globe-trotting lifestyle on the internet.
Reid’s Facebook profile showed her on holiday, sipping champagne in Harrods and dining at posh London restaurants like the Berkeley and the Dorchester.
One picture showed her wearing a fur stole and in another she was about to set off on a helicopter ride.
Snaps taken in Dubai showed her standing by a pool and draped across the bonnet of a Rolls-Royce.
Gloating about her lifestyle, she posted a picture from Harrods in 2014 and wrote: “Drinking champagne. It’s a hard life!”
And when skiing in Davos, she posted: “I’m aching but surviving. Might give snowboarding a whirl too.”
Reid’s profile on LinkedIn indicated her desire to expand her beauty salon business to Dubai and Los Angeles.
Eight of the nine dishonesty charges related to her failure to declare savings of £180,000.
Reid, who sometimes used the pseudonym Carina Delmonte, had claimed she had no savings and took no holidays from 2009 to 2014.
She was this week jailed for three years at London’s Isleworth Crown Court after admitting dishonestly claiming benefits.
The court heard how she first applied for handouts from Kensington and Chelsea Council in 2009, stating she earned a very low income from her beauty business in Wandsworth, south London.
Her false statements to the council saw her overpaid £51,110.37, made up of £48,395.99 housing benefits, £2,173.40 council tax benefits and £540.98 council tax reduction.
Reid told the court that some trips abroad were paid for by friends or boyfriends and some were also business training trips. She also insisted being always truthful in her tax affairs. Sentencing, Judge Marks Moore described the fraud as “sophisticated” and “premeditated.”
A neighbour of Reid said last night: “It’s a shock. We barely saw her because of her jet-set lifestyle. She was always partying and just gave the impression of being very successful.”
Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown said: “Money intended for those in greatest need was instead dishonestly used by Carina Reid to fund a lavish lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense.” Taken for a ride... Reid in fur stole and, right, set for holiday trip in helicopter Thursday May 12 2016