We looked last year at the case of the couple who lodged false compensation claims for fictitious illness picked up on holiday and got 15 months and 9 months imprisonment respectively. We said that although the length was what we would expect it might have been suspended if it had been less of a high profile case.
On 5th March 2018 we had another example which ended more as we would expect – with a suspended sentence (although the sums involved were a lot, lot less).
Leon Roberts and Jade Muzoka, now separated, went on holiday to Turkey in 2015. They had a good time, but a year later put in a fraudulent claim, falsely alleging that they had contracted food poising.
Their claim unravelled after Facebook postings were unearthed showing them having a great holiday and tucking into their food without concern.
They both claimed about £2,000 each, so a lot less than the case last year, but as the District Judge said “It would fly in the face of common sense for me to ignore the fact that a holiday company feel it necessary, because of a tsunami of claims, to bring a private prosecution”. It appears that this is a modern problem
The ex-couple got 26 weeks, suspended for 12 months on condition of completing 200 hours unpaid work, as well as financial orders.
Looking at the fraud guidelines, although many judges would have had it as a Cat 5B case, it seems that the DJ here put it in Cat 5A before giving credit for the plea of guilty.
In the circumstances, and given the public concern about this sort of fraud – easy to do, hard to detect – it is unlikely that any appeal would succeed. It seems a fair resolution in the circumstances.