Motocross fraudster caught
18 October 2011 - Wheels News
We've heard of races being fixed, drivers cheating on track but a British rider takes the prize for cheating in motorsport.
Motocross champion Jake Preston has been caught on camera winning a race and finishing third in another despite claiming R198 983 in disability benefits.
In a court hearing it was found that Preston claimed a state disability living allowance, a benefit rserved for the most severely disabled.
Preston claimed he was crippled with a rare condition called syringomyelia and had been in constant pain since the age of four. He said he could barely walk and was in constant pain.. .though reality was very different.
Preston was filmed racing during the British Masters Motocross championships in Whitby, north-eastern England.
The fraudster was also spotted taking part in a construction course at Bolton College and getting to his studies in his Opel Corsa, a mobility car paid for by taxpayers. It was reported that he received £100 (about Rs 4584) a week to pay for his care and made fraudulent claims from September 2007 to March 2010.
Preston was eventually brought before a magistrates' court after authorities recieved a tip-off from the public.
He pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to notify the department for Work and Pensions on a change in circumstance - the improvement in his condition - which would affect his claim.
His lawyer Joe O'Connor told the court there was "no dishonesty" from Preston, as he relied on "the advice of other people" to fill in the benefits form and simply signed it off himself.
UK regional fraud manager Vernon Sanderson said: "This is a blatant fraud. He represented himself as being unable to walk. Clearly the evidence available showed a young man who was able to take part in strenuous sport. It was totally at odds with the information given to the department.
"We have had many cases in the recent past when people have been caught out playing golf. Motocross would tax even the most able-bodied person."
Preston was given a 250-hour community order and told to repay the benefits he had claimed.