ICYMI: Woman Got $63,000 in Welfare Benefits, but Inspectors Noticed Her Facebook Photos

May 23, 2019 Updated: July 2, 2019

A U.K. model who was jailed after receiving tens of thousands of dollars in welfare benefits is still there. Her story has gone viral over the years on a variety of website, highlighting the excess of her exploits.

Carina Reid, who lived in Chelsea was jailed for several years after she claimed £50,000 ($63,000), in welfare benefits, according to MyLondon.com. A court heard that she had assets of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to the Daily Mail, she claimed benefits to fund vacations in France, Switzerland, Dubai, Spain, Portugal, and Hong Kong, the Daily Mail reported. Alongside a photo from a tea room, she wrote: “Drinking champagne. It’s a hard life!” as reported by the Evening Standard.

In February 2014, she went skiing in Davos, writing: “It’s bloody hard. I’m aching but surviving. Might give snowboarding a whirl too.”

The woman then went on Facebook to post photos of herself while on vacation, sipping champagne and dining at top London restaurants.

She spent New Year 2013 in Spain and weeks earlier, she was photographed across a Lamborghini in Dubai after going to a yacht party.

“Getting over the pool party yesterday so relaxing and chilling with millionnaires drinking champagne and Pimms!” she wrote for a photo of her Hong Kong.

Her photos on Facebook contrasted with what she told officials. The Mail reported that she claimed to have no savings, had taken no holidays from 2009 until 2014, and got free food at a mosque.

Judge Douglas Marks-Moore dismissed claims she had no money, calling her “extremely boorish” and “arrogant.”

“I am sorry, this is pie in the sky. She is very arrogant in my view when she comes into this court,” he said.

He added: “She knows very well where her things were and where the money was spent. There were photographs posted on her Facebook page of her enjoying the high life.”

Regarding those photos, “this was a significant amount of money that could have been used by social services,” he said.

While receiving benefits, she apparently ran a beauty business website and worked with a number of celebrities, the Mail noted, adding that she spent about $150,000 in 2013 and 2014 to get property in Dubai.

Sentencing, Judge Douglas Marks Moore said her fraud was “sophisticated” and “premeditated” and designed to fund her “lavish lifestyle,” the  Standard noted.

What’s more, her actions were not “not a passive fraud.”

A neighbor at her block told the outlet: “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 also noted that “money that was intended for those in greatest need was instead dishonestly used by Carina Reid to fund a lavish lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense.”

Reid’s viral case highlights the pervasiveness of welfare fraud not only in the United Kingdom but in the United States as well. Regarding food stamp fraud, “How much did fraud grow? It jumped to $592.7 million in 2016, up a staggering 61% from $367.1 million in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (See Table 46 in the report.) The monetary figures are ‘Fraud Dollars Determined By Investigations.’ In other words, these figures are based on identified incidents. In 2016, the number of fraud investigations totaled 963,965, up more than 30% from 2012,” according to Forbes magazine.