UK athlete found guilty of cheating employers

A sprinter who took part in national athletics competitions and was paid to coach youngsters while off work with a bad back has been found guilty of defrauding his employers.

Matthew Thomas, 34, was signed off from his job as a payroll officer at Newham Council after telling bosses he had fallen from a ladder and injured his back.

Prosecutors said he received £13,892.12 while off work between November 2007 and June 2008, when he resigned from his post.

But during this time Thomas, from East Ham, east London, raced in the Birmingham Athletic Games and took part in the Surrey County Indoor Championships.

He also led regular coaching sessions for Met-Track – an athletics scheme set up by the Metropolitan Police.

A jury of five men and seven women at Inner London Crown Court found him guilty of six counts of fraud by false representation after he submitted sick notes claiming he was unfit to work.

Rebecca Channon, prosecuting, said the case showed “two sides” of Thomas, who had been employed by the council since 1998.

“This case is about fraud and dishonesty,” she said. “Plainly he was carrying on quite an active life outside his employment at the London Borough of Newham whilst being off sick.”

Thomas, who denied all the charges, was cleared of three counts of fraud by false representation and one count of fraud by failing to disclose information relating to his athletics coaching.
Source: Press Association

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