A “model” who once claimed she was so poor and down on her luck that she needed to beg for food from food banks in order to survive has now been jailed after being busted for leading a glamorous and jet set lifestyle.
32-year-old Brit model Carina Reid claimed more than $70,000 in housing and council tax benefits in order to help fund her luxury trips to Ibiza and Dubai. Although she had more than $250,000 in 19 different bank accounts spread out around the world.
The con artist model even went as far as to claim she needed money to pay rent on a flat she herself owned on the King’s Road, Chelsea. A place where the average price for a flat is $2.9 million. Reid told Kensington and Chelsea Council that since her beauty business in Wandsworth, South London, was struggling even though she was actually planning to open new salons in Dubai and Los Angeles and her salon’s website claimed she had a “VIP film star” clientele, which included Friends star and director David Schwimmer and singer-songwriter Michael Buble.
The scam went as far Reid sending $228,000 abroad in 2013-2014 to acquire property in Dubai.
The whole scam went south when investigators looked at her Facebook page and saw pictures of her lavish lifestyle. Although Reid claimed that the trips were gifts from friends and boyfriends she was sentenced to three years in prison at Isleworth Crown Court after pleading guilty to nine charges of dishonestly claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit.
To date, none of the money she was paid in benefits has been recovered.
Via Evening Standard:
Model who claimed £50,000 in benefits while living jet-set lifestyle is jailed after inspectors spotted her glamorous Facebook holiday snaps
A model who claimed she was so poor she lived on food handouts from her local mosque has been jailed after benefits inspectors uncovered her jetset lifestyle from glamorous holiday snaps posted on Facebook.
Carina Reid, 32, claimed more than £50,000 in housing and council tax benefits to help fund luxury holidays in Dubai, Hong Kong, Spain, Portugal, France and Switzerland and meals at the West End’s top restaurants.
She claimed handouts to pay rent on a flat in an upmarket block in King’s Road, Chelsea, which she actually owned, and was found to hold £180,000 in 19 separate bank accounts.
Reid, who also works as a beautician, told Kensington and Chelsea Council she had no savings, took no holidays and made so little from her Wandsworth beauty business Enhance Medica that she accepted free food and drink from her local mosque.
Another holiday snap of Reid by a pool in Dubai (Facebook)
But on the firm’s website, she claimed a “VIP film star” clientele including Michael Buble and David Schwimmer, and revealed plans to expand into Dubai and Los Angeles.
While claiming benefits between 2009 and 2014 she went on a string of luxury trips which were uncovered by suspicious council fraud inspectors who trawled through her social media profile.
Her Facebook account, under the pseudonym Cara Delmonte, shows her sipping champagne in Harrods and dining at other top establishments including Scotts in Mayfair, the Dorchester and the Berkeley.
Alongside a photo from Laduree tea rooms in Harrods in August, 2014, she wrote: “Drinking champagne. It’s a hard life!”
Pictures from the same year show her taking a helicopter trip at the Cannes film festival, posing in a glamorous evening gown by a luxury cruise liner in Lisbon and relaxing at a rooftop pool.
In February 2014 she went skiing in Davos and posted: “It’s bloody hard. I’m aching but surviving. Might give snowboarding a whirl too.”
Reid was jailed for three years, one of the most severe sentences ever to have been handed out in London for benefit fraud
She spent New Year 2013 in Barcelona, while just weeks earlier she posted a picture of herself draped across a Lamborghini in Dubai after attending a yacht party.
During a trip to Macau, Hong Kong in 2010 she wrote: “Getting over the pool party yesterday so relaxing and chilling with millionnaires drinking champagne and Pimms!”
Investigations by Kensington and Chelsea’s anti-fraud squad found the King’s Road flat she claimed to rent in her benefit claim was purchased with a deposit of £20,000.
She was able to acquire a mortgage based on genuine tax returns, which showed Enhance was a thriving business.
In 2014 she took a helicopter trip at Cannes and she sent cash abroad to buy property in Dubai
A further financial investigation revealed she sent £116,000 abroad in 2013-2014 to acquire property in Dubai.
Yesterday, Reid was sentenced to three years in prison at Isleworth Crown Court having pleaded guilty to nine charges of dishonestly claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit.
It is one of the most severe sentences ever to have been handed out in London for benefit fraud.
The court heard she had been overpaid £51,110 in benefits, none of which has been recovered.
Reid told the court that she did not believe she had an extravagant lifestyle and claimed some of the trips abroad were paid for by friends or boyfriends, while others were business training trips.
She insisted she had always been truthful in her tax affairs.
Sentencing, Judge Douglas Marks Moore described Reid’s fraud as “sophisticated” and “premeditated” and designed to fund her “lavish lifestyle”.
He said this was “not a passive fraud” and that every time she filled in a claim form there was a “positive demonstration to deceive.”
Her beauty services are based at a separate unconnected beauty business, Regina Doctor H, in upmarket shopping street Old York Road, by Wandsworth Town rail station.
Neighbours today told of their shock that “a glamorous and charming” businesswoman had been exposed as a fraudster.
Andreja Oblak, 31, a barista at a coffee shop opposite Enhance’s outlet in Old York Road, said: “I can’t believe it. She always seemed so polite and sophisticated. I can’t believe she was such a scammer and she was ripping us all off to pay for her lifestyle.”
A neighbour at her block in Kings Road said: “It’s a shock. We barely saw her because of her jetset lifestyle. She was always partying and just gave the impression of being very successful.”
Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown, leader of Kensington and Chelsea council said: “Money that was intended for those in greatest need was instead dishonestly used by Carina Reid to fund a lavish lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense.
“I am very pleased that following our investigation, which uncovered her real circumstances, that the court has handed down this custodial sentence.”
Forget modeling and styling hair. What this woman should really be doing is writing a book on how to be rich off welfare. She would become a multi-millionaire just on her book sales alone.
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