Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life Styles of the Rich and Stupid

Flaunt it only if you got it legally in Britain:
A brazen benefit fraudster posed for a local paper snap in front of his lavish house while being investigated for illegally claiming £65,000 in benefits.

Peter Labazzi and his partner Stephanie Tinworth lived a lifestyle of luxury. As well as owning "his and hers" Jaguar sports cars and a Bentley worth more than £110,000, the couple's daughter spent four years at a private school costing £17,500.

And, despite an investigation by Waltham Forest District Council into housing and council tax claims, Labazzi posed for a photograph in front of his lavish £800,000 Wing Walk house in North Weald, Essex, for local reporters.

....He and his partner illegally claimed thousands of pounds in benefits over nine years after Tinworth, 46, convinced the council she was living in a home in Walthamstow, east London, as a single mother.

But she and the rest of the family were living at other addresses owned by Labazzi.

Benefit workers at the council became suspicious in September 2006 after discovering Tinworth's children had the same surname as the property's owner - Labazzi.

The couple were both questioned in March - two months later he made... [a] public appeal for help in unlocking the secrets of his historic home, which was built in 1925.

He said he had heard rumours there was a picture of King George and Winston Churchill at his property, which was originally built by the Ministry of Defence to house North Weald Airfield's wing commander.

The couple were jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court earlier this month for 21 months each after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy to defraud.

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