A Dundee actor who pretended he was severely disabled to con the benefits agency out of more than £5,000 was caught out by secret filming.
Garry McGovern, 51, was claiming benefits after telling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) he was suffering a severe level of disability.
McGovern, who has been a film extra, told the agency he could not walk more than 20m without using a stick or resorting to a wheelchair.
Lied to DWP for a year
He also claimed he was unable to cook for himself or wash without assistance and lied to the agency for more than a year to obtain £5,220.14 in benefits.
The DWP was given a tip-off that McGovern had been lying about the extent of his ailments in order to claim far greater benefits than he was entitled to.
Dundee Sheriff Court was told on Wednesday the investigation discovered that McGovern had been fit enough to carry out work as a builder and decorator.
It had also been reported to investigators that McGovern had turned up at a wedding to act as a photographer’s assistant and showed no sign of being seriously disabled.
The probe into McGovern’s claim was escalated to involve the setting up of a covert surveillance operation and his lies were captured on camera.
He was secretly filmed walking much further distances than he claimed on a number of occasions and showed no obvious signs of discomfort.
Investigators compiled a mini-series of McGovern’s covert screen appearances and they were shown to the court to demonstrate the extent of his deception.
McGovern, of Byron Street, Dundee, admitted obtaining £5,220.14 in personal independence payments to which he was not entitled between August 16 2017 and September 3 2018.
He admitted knowingly failing to inform the DWP of a change in circumstances which affected his entitlement to the enhanced mobility and daily living components of the claim.
He also admitted failing to declare there had been an improvement in the management of his declared disabilities and that he was able to work and drive without assistance.
Sheriff Lorna Drummond placed him on a restriction of liberty order for six months and ordered him to stay indoors from 7pm to 7am each night.