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PROTRACK » International Results & News » Comm Games Sprinter in Sickness Benefits fraud

Comm Games Sprinter in Sickness Benefits fraud

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1 Comm Games Sprinter in Sickness Benefits fraud on Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:09 am

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1305757/Commonwealth-Games-sprinter-claimed-14-000-benefits-secretly-training-young-runners-Met-Police.html


Matthew Thomas, right, competing for St Lucia in the 100 metres at the 2006
Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006



Commonwealth Games sprinter claimed £14,000 in sick-note benefits while secretly training young runners for the Met Police
By Christian Gysin
UK Daily Mail
25th August 2010


A council payroll officer who took seven months off work on full pay after claiming he had a bad back was then secretly filmed sprinting on a running track and also coaching youngsters, a court was told today.
Matthew Thomas, who once represented St Lucia in the Commonwealth Games, spent his time preparing for athletics meetings around the country while still claiming long-term sick pay.

The 34-year-old collected a total of £13,892.12 in full pay while 'off sick' and was also earning extra money working on a Metropolitan Police initiative to coach young runners.

Thomas spent a total of seven months absent from his job with Newham Council in east London before he finally resigned in June 2008.

Thomas, from East Ham, east London, repeatedly claimed he could not work after injuring his back following a fall from a ladder.

However, Inner London Crown Court heard that he was filmed coaching and running at two London athletics tracks before council investigators learned he had competed in a string of athletics meetings across the country.

Thomas denies one count of fraud by failing to disclose information about his work for the Met-Track scheme and ten counts of fraud by false representation due to the sickness certificates he submitted.

The court heard how Thomas fell from a ladder on November 12, 2007, just a year after he had represented St Lucia in the 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Rebecca Channon, prosecuting, said Thomas had joined the London borough of Newham as a payroll officer in 2001 and was a keen athlete in his spare time.
'On November 12, 2007, he contacted his line manager and informed her that he could not attend work as he had injured his back as a result of a fall from a ladder,' she said.

'He then did not return to work and remained absent from his role for a little over seven months until he finally resigned.

'He informed his line manager that he had difficulty performing everyday tasks like getting dressed.'
While Thomas continued to claim full pay under the council's rules, his bosses later learned he had been earning money as a 'Met-Track coach' - a police initiative to offer sporting opportunities to the young.

The court was also told that on February 2, 2008, he took part in a 60-metre sprint race at the Birmingham Athletic Games.

A few weeks later he took part in three races when competing in the Surrey County Championships.
'Our case is simple,' added the prosecutor. 'Every time he submitted a sickness certificate we say he was making a false representation.

'Plainly he was carrying out an active life and we say he was plainly being dishonest.'

The jury was told they would later hear evidence from Thomas's line manager and discussions she had with him over the extent of his back injury.

They will also be shown video footage of Thomas coaching youngsters on the track and taking part in his own solo training sessions.

During later interviews Thomas admitted he had trained and coached while off sick but maintained he had only taken part in competitions because he could then get free physiotherapy after races.

During later interviews Thomas admitted he had trained and coached while off sick but maintained he had only taken part in competitions because he could then get free physiotherapy after races.

He also claimed that athletics meetings he had competed in allowed him to test the 'progress' of his rehabilitation.

'But he still maintained that he had difficulty sitting down for long periods of time - this had no effect on his coaching or running - but this would not allow him to carry out his role as a payroll officer,' added the prosecution.

The case continues.

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Ironic the pic includes Patrick Johnson who has lived legitimately off the government at the AIS for over 10 years costing 10 times the amount the other guy took in sickness benefits.

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