Fitness class fraudster must pay back benefits money

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A fraudster who was jailed after being caught running between aerobics and yoga classes at a gym while claiming over £32,000 in disability benefits had been ordered to pay back the sum.

Susan McCabe was jailed for nine months in July last year after a court heard she blatantly “bled” the benefits system for five years.

McCabe, 61, enjoyed 20 foreign holidays during the period of offending, often requesting to stay on the top floor of hotels which could not be reached by a lift.

Leeds Crown Court heard McCabe became a member of Total Fitness gym and Sun Lane leisure centre, in Wakefield, where she took part in fitness classes four or five times per week. She also used treadmills, a cycling machine and a cross trainer to keep fit. Staff at one centre described how she could often be seen running down stairs between aqua aerobics and yoga classes so she wasn’t late.

McCabe, of Elder Avenue, Wakefield, returned to Leeds Crown Court to face a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The court heard McCabe’s benefit from her offending was £35,472 and the amount of sizeable assets she has available was £82,472.

The court was told McCabe had already been repaying some of the illegally claimed sum in instalments.

She was ordered to repay the remaining amount - £34,838 - within three months of face a further nine months in jail.

At her sentencing hearing last year the court she failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of an improvement in her condition and made the illegal claims for disability living allowance. McCabe pleaded guilty to failing to notify a change in circumstances to obtain benefit. Jailing McCabe, Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “You bled the system of money to which you were not entitled.”

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