A glamour model who starred in a Playboy film has been ordered to repay £50,000 fraudulently claimed in disability benefits.
Julia Martinez, 45, claimed more than £44,000 over a three-year period despite earning money from photo shoots and movies. Martinez, who also runs a photography company, got £27,900 of income support and £14,112 of disability benefit. The Cheltenham resident claimed a further £2,178 in council tax relief before her home was raided in 2012.
Police found Martinez held bank accounts in the UK and overseas, including the Isle of Man and Jersey, a court heard.
She pleaded guilty to five charges of falsely claiming benefits and in 2015 got a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for one year. Now she has been slapped with a confiscation order for the sum of £50,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
George Threlfall, QC, prosecuting, told the court Martinez had shown a "pattern of mendacity" in the two years since her conviction.
He claimed her available assets were "greater than" declared and she'd sold a Spanish property for 110,000 euros (£92,000). She'd also "failed to provide details for" bank accounts in Spain, Jersey and the Isle of Man, Mr Threlfall said.
He said: "Her available assets we say are much greater than what we can actually establish. The fact is she has been hiding assets. That in itself really casts a shadow. She sold a property in Spain for 110,000 euros and we don't know what happened to the money."
He added that she'd been ordered to repatriate money from her foreign accounts in 2012, but hadn't done so. "There has been no repayment of the monies obtained fraudulently which of course is … the purpose of these proceedings," he said.
Lisa Freeman, offering mitigation for Martinez, said "assumptions" could not be made on the extent of Martinez's wealth. She said: "Miss Martinez was sentenced on the basis that the application was not fraudulent from the outset. There was a change in her circumstances of which the DWP should have been informed - that's when the two other benefits kicked in."
Judge William Hart said there was "no actuarial evidence to substantiate" the argument that Martinez's claim had not been dishonest at the outset.
A court previously heard that inspectors found she had "appeared in a Playboy film". Details of the film were not disclosed, but it was released on DVD.
Martinez had a successful acting, modelling and photographic career and used an alias to send money to Spain in a bid to avoid detection.
She was given a confiscation order in the sum of £50,000, which she has three months to pay, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The judge ruled £2,100 will be deducted from the full amount and paid as compensation to Cheltenham Borough Council. She will also be forced to pay £8,050 in costs. If she doesn't pay up, she will be jailed for nine months.
Source with pictures