A British woman is accused of milking the welfare system while living the high life in exotic locales around the world.
Carina Reid is a 32-year-old model, according to the Daily Mail, who had more than $225,000 stashed away in 19 separate bank accounts, but managed to claim more than $73,000 in welfare benefits from the government.
Meanwhile, Reid was planning on purchasing land in Dubai with more than $100,000, and Facebook photos show her traveling to France, riding in expensive cars, and sipping wine.
A court found that Reid made false statements to obtain the benefits, which were mostly for housing. Reid put about half of her benefits on the down payment on an apartment in London's trendy Chelsea neighborhood.
Reid argued that her trips and extravagances were paid by boyfriends. But Judge Marks Moore ruled that Reid had committed “sophisticated” and “premeditated” fraud.
Moore also said that Reid's actions were “not a passive fraud” and that every time she filled in a claim form there was a “positive demonstration to deceive,” the Daily Mail reported.
A neighbor couldn't believe what Reid was accused of doing.
“It’s a shock. We barely saw her because of her jetset lifestyle,” the neighbor said. “She was always partying and just gave the impression of being very successful.”
Council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown said, “Money that was intended for those in greatest need was instead dishonestly used by Carina Reid to fund a lavish lifestyle at taxpayers' expense."
"I am very pleased that following our investigation, which uncovered her real circumstances, the court has handed down this custodial sentence," he continued.
Welfare fraud is a big concern for the British general public. According to the Guardian, Britons believe 27 percent of the national budget is wasted on people gaming the system.
However, the actual harm to the budget is only 0.7 percent, the Guardian reported.