A Midlands couple could face jail after a false compensation claim was ‘rumbled’ by investigators who found their holiday snaps on Facebook.
Bodybuilder Leon Roberts claimed he was left bedridden after being struck down by food poisoning while on holiday in Turkey.
Photos posted to Facebook show him tucking into a variety of meals including steak and sushi.
Mr Roberts, from Alvaston, in Derby, claimed he was unable to go out for a fortnight – and his solicitors filed a claim against the Turkish hotel and the tour operator Thomson.
He and mother-of-two Jade Muzoka, 27, have now been warned they face “time behind bars” in a bid to send a message out to others amid a ‘tsunami’ of false compensation claims.
Payouts in similar cases average around £3,000 ($5,000).
But investigators discovered photographs of him lounging by the pool, posing with pints of lager, and eating dinner alongside his partner.
Excursions and boat rides also featured in the album – causing operator Thomas to reject his claim.
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “It would fly in the face of common sense to regard this as an isolated incident.
“It is a real problem in Great Britain and has a real impact on the genuine persons who suffer that make genuine claims and put those who do suffer illness on holiday under suspicion.
“This (the offences) is outside the (sentencing) guidelines because it encourages a tsunami of false claims.
“All (sentencing) options are open at this stage and this is a serious case and it may be that a custodial sentence will follow to show the importance of your wrongdoing.”
Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court was told how Roberts, 37, of Holbrook Road, Alvaston, and Muzoka, 27, of Stenson Road, Sinfin , spent a week at the luxury Cornelia Golf Resort and Spa, in Turkey, in July 2015.
The following April, the pair submitted claims through their solicitor saying they both fell ill during their time away.
But investigators discovered photographs of the couple, who are no longer together, lounging by the pool, drinking and eating dinner.
Tim Hunter, prosecuting on behalf of TUI, said: “The facts are that the couple enjoyed a holiday at the resort in July 2015. The holiday went ahead without incident with no complaints about any undue medical conditions.
“Their social media entries made it plain they’d had a good time.
“But in April of the following year they claimed for damages against TUI claiming they both suffered illness because of the food they consumed.
“That was false and they did it deliberately trying to make a benefit for themselves.”
Nick Longman, managing director of Thomson’s parent group TUI, said at the time: “We are concerned by the unprecedented increase in illness claims.
“We have many cases with evidence there was no illness, or where the symptoms or duration are exaggerated.
“Where we identify fraud we will consider prosecution and we will also blacklist customers from taking further holidays with us.”
Both pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.