Four fake sickness fraudsters, rumbled after boasting on social media of their “best holiday ever”, have escaped immediate jail sentences.
Michael Jameson, 43, Claire Weir, 35, Jane Weir, 38, and Janet Weir, 63, all of Liverpool, admitted cooking up a gastric illness claim against Jet2holidays for more than £45,000.
The family and their four children enjoyed a week-long all-inclusive at the Aqua Magic Rock Gardens hotel in Benidorm in July 2015.
Their social media timelines spoke of “the best holiday ever” and “loving every minute” of their trip.
However, a year later in July 2016, Jet2holidays received the family’s claim for negligence, stating they suffered for days with nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Medical records accompanying the claim, purportedly proving their sickness, coincided with their social media posts, Liverpool High Court heard on Friday (October 26). Records held by the hotel showed that during the period they were supposedly sick, they enjoyed lagers, vodka, gin, amaretto and other drinks.
Jameson and the Weirs admitted contempt of court offences and were each sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
They were further ordered to each pay a £750 and the legal costs incurred by Jet2holidays.
The judge, Mr Justice Choudhury QC, said the evidence against the claimants was “little short of overwhelming”.
Steve Heapy, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays chief executive, said: “We have led the way to tackle the issue of false sickness claims so holidaymakers do not expose themselves to the risks that come with getting involved in such dishonest activity.
“For some time, we have warned making false claims could lead to serious consequences; this ruling shows how serious they can be. It should leave anyone making a fake sickness claim in no doubt we will robustly investigate and defend any claims that are dishonest or illegitimate – and the courts will not hesitate to punish anyone engaging in such fraud.”