Tempting Gambian beaches lure Brit into £110,000 benefit fraud

DAVID ROTHWELL2

Caught: David Rothwell, 66, posted photos from his exotic holidays in Gambia while falsely claiming £109,253 over ten years

The exotic white sand beaches of the Smiling Coast of Africa have tempted a calculated British fraudster into a £110,000 benefit scheme, Mail Online reported.

An engineering boss earning £45,000 a year is facing jail after claiming benefits for more than ten years totaling £110,000.

David Rothwell, 66, claimed jobseekers allowance, housing and council tax benefits despite working for a respected London university since 2004.

He reportedly boasted on his Facebook page how he holidayed in The Gambia three times between 2011 and 2012 and posted photos of him drinking beer at a local bar and with a snake wrapped around his neck.

He now faces jail after pleading guilty to seven counts of benefit fraud, which amounted to £109,153.

Mr Rothwell first signed on legitimately in 2003 after losing his job at an engineering firm.

But when he landed a top engineering job at Imperial College London in January 2004 he did not inform the authorities.

Sevenoaks JPs heard how the 66-year-old, of Borough Green, Kent, even started claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit in January 2004, the very time he had just landed his new job.

He continued working at the respected university for four years, until he landed a new job as a engineering compliance manager for John Laing Integrated Services in August 2008.

Rothwell, who was earning between £40,000 and £50,000-a-year, kept his job when John Laing Integrated Services was taken over by Carillion in a £17.5m deal in 2013, but kept claiming benefits.

During his October holiday to the Gambia he bragged about playing rounds of golf at the par 69 Fajara Golf Club in Gambia and posted photos of him drinking beer at a local bar and with a snake wrapped around his neck.

The court heard how Rothwell illegally claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance from January 2004 until April 2009, when he eventually came clean about his job.

But he still managed to claim housing and council tax benefits – neither of which he was entitled to – from Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council from January 2004 until May 2015, when the scam was rumbled.

Rothwell pleaded guilty to seven counts of benefit fraud on Monday, but was told that the offences were so serious he should be sentenced at crown court – where he was warned he faces jail.

The exact charges against Rothwell are two counts of falsely claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance, four counts of falsely claiming housing and council tax and falsely claiming pension credit from the Department for Work and Pensions.

He is due before Maidstone Crown Court on February 29 for a pre-sentencing hearing.

The Gambia is a very popular holiday destination for British tourists, making up of about 50% of the country’s yearly arrivals.

Tourism contributeS about 18% of the country’s GDP.

 

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