A SECRETARY in a £65,000 disability con claimed to be crippled while playing badminton and going scuba diving, a court heard yesterday.
Linda Hoey, 57, raked in benefits for more than a decade and was given specially adapted cars.
She alleged that she needed a stick to get around, claimed the highest amount of mobility allowance for degenerative arthritis and a back problem since 1995.
She used the mobility car to travel to and from work along the M6, avoiding the toll charge, due to her alleged disabilities, avoiding £15,960 of payments.
An investigation by the Department of Work and Pensions revealed that Hoey had been in paid employment since 1997 but on her latest Disability Living Allowance claim form, from 2004, she stated it would take her up to five minutes to walk four metres and she did not feel strong enough to be on her own at any time.
The Stafford Crown Court heard how the woman’s employer wasn’t even aware that she had long-term health problems
Stewart Halstead, managing director of PartsWorld in Cannock, told Stafford Crown Court he was unaware that his personal assistant Linda Hoey had a long-term health problem and had never seen her use a walking stick in the 16 years they worked together.
Hoey even had a personalised calendar on her desk showing her scuba-diving.
Mr Halstead said the office was based on the first floor and employees would have to go downstairs to use the only toilets or make drinks in the kitchen.
She would make drinks for his visitors and took her turn making tea and coffee for the rest of the staff, he said.
Asked by prosecution barrister Mr Andrew Cartin how she walked, Mr Halstead replied: “Perfectly normal.”