Insurance cheat 'raced supercars'
An insurance cheat who claimed he was laid low by chronic fatigue was caught out by social media postings which told of his passion for racing "supercars" in Cyprus, the High Court has heard.
Christopher Parkin, 41, claimed that between August 2007 and September 2012 he was incapable of leading an ordinary life, could not work, had no hobbies or pastimes and was living with his parents in Badsworth, West Yorkshire because his marriage had broken up and his wife and two daughters had moved to Cyprus.
In fact, said barrister Peter Hamilton in London, 1,000 pages of postings on online forums - made by Parkin between June 2007 and 2012 - revealed a picture of a man who was active, well and addicted to his hobby of modifying his Noble supercars and driving them fast both on the roads of the Mediterranean island and on a race-track there.
In many of his postings, the steelwork draughtsman said he lived in Cyprus and mentioned his wife in terms which suggested they were together, as well as referring to his cannabis use and the work he had done.
Parkin was not in court today to hear Judge Richard Seymour order him to repay £19,096 to the Cirencester Friendly Society Ltd, which he had fraudulently obtained under an income protection insurance policy - plus interest and an interim payment of £200,000 towards a £350,000 costs bill.
The judge said that Parkin had told "a load of lies".
He added: "Nemesis overtook him most dramatically because, like so many people nowadays - particularly those who seem minded to perpetrate frauds, he seemed incapable of keeping off the Internet and sharing the true nature of his activities through social media."
Had Parkin correctly answered the questions on his policy application and disclosed that he had panic attacks, had consulted a doctor in relation to chest pains and been a habitual user of cannabis, it would have been rejected, said the judge.
But, in August 2007, within two months of the start of the policy, Parkin made a claim on the basis that he could not work because of Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME).
This was rejected, but his complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service was upheld in September 2010, resulting in the £19,096 payment.
Parkin then made another claim, saying he had chronic fatigue syndrome, and again this was upheld by the Ombudsman after it was initially rejected.
But this time, said the judge, the Society did not accept the decision or make any payment and, in March 2013, began court action and an investigation into Parkin.
Since then, Parkin, who denied the fraud, had failed to attend a medical examination and his defence to the claim had been struck out.
The judge said that the case had been abundantly proved by the evidence of witness statements, the Internet postings and some YouTube contributions - since taken down - showing the Noble sports car in action.
He added: "I am satisfied it is appropriate for me to rectify the injustices perpetrated by the misleading of the Ombudsman resulting in the awards made."