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Daily Mail

Virgin Atlantic air stewardess dedicated £10k profit fraud and spent cash on boob job and Pelton


A brazen advantages cheat defrauded the taxpayer for £10,000 whereas lavishing money on a boob job, different cosmetic surgery and a Peloton train bike has been sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work.

Former Virgin Atlantic air stewardess Mercedes Bradley, 31, claimed Common Credit score advantages despite the fact that she had £48,000 in a secret checking account the place she obtained funds from ‘ex-boyfriends’ – certainly one of whom transferred her greater than £30,000.

Bradley, of Ironworks shut, Cinderford, Gloucestershire, admitted failing to declare capital after DWP investigators caught up together with her, bringing her spending spree to an finish.

The cost she admitted was of dishonestly failing to inform the Division for Work and Pensions (DWP) of capital financial savings or investments which might have an effect on entitlement to Common Credit score between March 26 2020 and August 28 2021.

Bradley used the stolen taxpayer money to reside on whereas spending tens of 1000’s of kilos on beauty surgical procedure together with a breast elevate and designer dental work, the DWP mentioned.

After receiving a tip-off, the DWP’s Monetary Investigation Unit group questioned Bradley.

However she claimed the funds had been from numerous ex-boyfriends, who transferred her £47,780 in complete.

Former Virgin Atlantic air stewardess Mercedes Bradley (pictured), 31, defrauded the taxpayer for £10,000 in advantages despite the fact that she had £48,000 in a secret checking account

Bradley (pictured) used the stolen taxpayer cash to live on while spending tens of thousands of pounds on cosmetic surgery including a breast lift and designer dental work

Bradley (pictured) used the stolen taxpayer money to reside on whereas spending tens of 1000’s of kilos on beauty surgical procedure together with a breast elevate and designer dental work

The DWP additionally found Bradley used the cash to pay for luxuries reminiscent of a private coach and a £4,000 Peloton train bike, in addition to the month-to-month subscription.

Regardless of the money injections, she had been fraudulently claiming a complete of £9,147.11 in Common Credit score between March 2020 and August 2021. Bradley had been claiming the profit legitimately from June 2018 to March 2020.

Common Credit score guidelines state that any claimant should not have any capital greater than £16,000 to be eligible.

Following the courtroom listening to yesterday, Bradley was sentenced to a 12-month neighborhood order with a requirement of 150 hours unpaid work. She can even face a Proceeds of Crime Act listening to within the Spring.

Karl Williams, defending, mentioned: ‘When she separated from her accomplice she made a professional declare for advantages. She moved from Swindon to the place her household had been dwelling within the Cinderford space.

‘This had a major impact on her psychological well being. Fortuitously, two of her earlier companions had been capable of assist her out financially and gave her within the area of £50,000. That is what affected her profit entitlement.

‘She has since misplaced her employment as an air hostess with Easyjet, however extra considerably with Virgin Atlantic she is now unable to fly to America as this conviction will prohibit her from doing so.

‘She has successfully misplaced her profession as an air hostess, a profession that was quite expensive to her. She describes herself as any person who simply will get bored and dealing within the airline trade stored her absolutely occupied.

‘Her mom helped take care of her youngster when she was flying lengthy distance. She has additionally labored as a dental nurse and as a recruit as a firefighter in Gloucestershire.

‘She pleaded responsible on the earliest alternative. She lives in rented lodging and is making common funds again to the Division of Work and Pensions, which presently quantities to simply over £400. She is in stricken circumstances.

‘She has been assessed at low threat of re-offending. I consider there are appropriate options to a jail sentence throughout the neighborhood.’

The Decide, Recorder Don Tait, informed Bradley: ‘It is a unhappy day when a girl, who has not been in hassle earlier than, finds herself at Gloucester Crown Court docket. It is your personal fault after all, however it’s essential to perceive that advantages are paid out of taxpayers’ cash.

You could have previously been in employment and it appears to me that the circumstances on this case advantage a neighborhood order and unpaid work requirement. I perceive that you’re comparatively match. That’s in all probability attributable to buying the Peloton bike!’

Bradley was an air stewardess and worked for Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet - but she has since lost her employment. Her conviction will mean she is no longer able to fly to America. Pictured: A photo of an Easyjet plane on the tarmac

Bradley was an air stewardess and labored for Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet – however she has since misplaced her employment. Her conviction will imply she is now not capable of fly to America. Pictured: A photograph of an Easyjet aircraft on the tarmac

Minister for Disabled Individuals, Well being and Work, Tom Pursglove MP, mentioned ‘I am happy to see justice being achieved on this case the place DWP investigators have efficiently tracked down a prolific fraudster who was clearly taking the taxpayer for a experience.

‘Profit fraud is a criminal offense that diverts cash away from those that really want it, which is why we’re investing £600 million to stop, detect, and deter fraudsters from abusing the system.

‘This sentencing exhibits how the DWP is utilizing all of the powers at our disposal to catch fraudsters and shield the general public purse.’

A DWP spokesperson mentioned the division has ‘all the time been dedicated to tackling fraud and takes abuse of taxpayers’ cash very severely’.

They added: ‘Earlier this 12 months the Division launched a strong plan to additional drive down fraud and error from the advantages system.

‘The “Preventing Fraud within the Welfare System” plan bolsters the counter-fraud frontline considerably with measures together with the hiring of two,000 skilled specialists to evaluate tens of millions of Common Credit score claims, estimated to stop round £2 billion in fraud over three years.

‘Extra actions embrace necessities for organisations, reminiscent of banks, to share information securely on an elevated scale to verify ranges of financial savings and whether or not claimants reside overseas. There are additionally plans to extend DWP officers’ powers to conduct searches, seize proof, and make arrests.

‘The brand new plan will prolong the DWP’s powers and enhance its means to entry data, considerably strengthening the Division’s means to drive fraud out of the profit system and shield the general public purse.

‘The DWP can be investing an extra £280m, introduced on the Autumn Assertion, to extend ranges of safety in opposition to fraud and error over the subsequent two years. This funding will allow us to evaluate the vast majority of Common Credit score claims, crack down on those that search to abuse the system and sort out organised criminals who search to assault it.’

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