A mother-of-two was sentenced to a year behind bars for reportedly pretending to be ill and claiming more than $200,000 in benefits from the British government while living in the African country of Tunisia.
According to reports, Susan Elaine Flanagan, 56, claimed that she could only walk a short distance and needed 24-hour a day care for six years in total as she collected benefits, and upon her arrest while on a trip home to the UK, it was discovered that she could walk without issue and was traveling with 16 suitcases.
While raking in the large amount of money, Flanagan ran a catering and clothing business and penned a blog about her life in Tunisia. During proceedings at Liverpool Crown Court, Recorder Paul Reid QC talked about the seriousness of her crime.
“You plainly enjoyed your lifestyle and you were determined for it to continue with the assistance of benefits from the United Kingdom,” Reid said.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ fraud manager Steven Sneade also condemned the mother-of-two for taking money away from people who truly needed it.
“This lady was using benefits meant for the most vulnerable people in society to enjoy a good lifestyle in a foreign country,” Sneade remarked. “It's what a lot of people would like to do but have to work for a living to do it.”
In addition to jail time, Flanagan was ordered to pay back over $6,000 within two months of sentencing.