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Clairvoyant and wife in £80k benefit fraud after filmed by secret investigators

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A clairvoyant and his wife fraudulently received tens of thousands of pounds in benefits payments after claiming they could barely walk - but he was secretly being filmed working out in the gym.

In his black vest top and shorts working up a sweat in the gym, he looks like any respectable middle-aged man trying to stay trim after a week of meetings and business lunches.

He moves from using an exercise bike, to the rowing machine, to lifting heavy dumb bells to running on the treadmill with remarkable ease. He is a man clearly used to regular work-out.

But his days of pumping iron were about to come to an end.

Unbeknown to Timothy Abbot, he was being secretly filmed by an undercover fraud team who had been tipped off that the 53-year-old clairvoyant and his wife Janette, 46, from Stafford, were benefit cheats.

The pair who fraudulently received £80,000 in benefits claimed they could barely walk. Between 1998 and 2014 the Abbotts from Linaker Close, Stafford, illegally claimed for disability, council tax and housing benefits. Mr Abbott, who claimed £35,496 in incapacity benefit and £22,848 in disability living allowance, was caught when he was filmed during a rigorous workout.

Fraud investigators for the Department of Work and Pensions filmed Abbott, who also ran spiritual residential courses, in the gym on January 8, 2012.

Abbott also defrauded HMRC out of £10,000 by failing to pay income tax or national insurance contributions.

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The man behind Tim Abbott DSNU advertises himself as an 'international spiritualist clairvoyant medium and tutor'.

Mr Abbott pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances and two counts of making a fraudulent non-payment of income tax.

His wife pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances, one count of making a false statement and one of falsely obtaining benefits by deception. The couple appeared at Stafford Crown Court yesterday.

She falsely claimed £19,477 in disability allowance and £713 in incapacity benefit along with £1,000 in council tax benefit.

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The couple, who live in a modern £200,000 detached house in Linaker Close, Stafford, were granted unconditional bail and ordered to return to court on August 1 for another hearing.

Recorder Christopher Bright warned them: 'If you do not appear on that date you may be committing an offence.'

The court heard that Mrs Abbot is being treated at St George's Hospital in Stafford for psychiatric problems and that she also had multiple sclerosis. Doctors will look into the claims.

A DWP spokesman said: "Benefit fraud is a crime and we are dedicated to catching those who commit it.

"Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like this cost the taxpayer money that should be used to help those in need.

"We are determined to find those who we suspect are cheating the system by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils."

On his website, Mr Abbott claims to have been aware of the spirit world from an early age, and at the age of 19 embarked on a 'journey of development' He claims to have been studying mediumship for more than 30 years.

The website says he has become known as 'one of Britains most evidencial platform mediums.' It goes on: "He prides himself on being a modern practical tutor. It says in recent years he has achieved diplomas in both demonstrating and teaching platform mediumship.

It adds: "His standard and style of work finds him in great demand throughout the world in countries such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Canada and Many more."

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