Drag queen jailed after committing benefit fraud worth £88,000
One half of popular drag queen duo Glitter Lips has been jailed after admitting to wrongly claiming £88,000 in benefits
A drag queen is facing six months in jail after wrongly claiming nearly £100k in disability benefit.
Mark Hawthorn, 49, also known as Tilly - one half of the comedy drag duo Glitter Lips - committed five counts of benefit fraud between November 2003 and March 2012.
Sentencing him at Staffordshire Crown Court, Judge Michael Challinor said: ‘You should have confined your acting ability to female impersonation rather than defrauding the state.’
Prosecutors for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said an anonymous tip-off prompted its investigation into Hawthorn's ‘systematic fraud’ of the benefits system.
Hawthorn claimed he suffered from a number of health problems which meant he needed help ‘night and day.’
He said he could barely walk 50 yards but the DWP uncovered YouTube footage of the performer dancing to hits by Diana Ross and Tina Turner.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Sian Fellowes, senior fraud manager at the DWP, said: ‘Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer £1billion per year.
‘Disability living allowance is intended to help people who have severe difficulties with their care and mobility, and it is clear in this case no such difficulties existed.
‘We will continue to investigate allegations of benefit fraud very rigorously and bring people who abuse the benefit system to justice.’
Prosecutor for the Department of Work and Pensions, Trevor Meegan, said Mark Hawthorn ‘had failed to declare his status as a self-employed drag artiste.’
'This was a flagrant and systematic fraud, claimed over a long period of time and of high value’ Meegan added.
Hawthorn fully admitted wrongdoing when confronted with the facts of the case and pleaded guilty.
The court heard Hawthorn claimed disability living allowance, council tax benefit, housing benefit and income support.
Hawthorn also failed to pay national insurance contributions or income tax from his earnings as Glitter Lips.
The 49-year-old has performed as Tilly on and off for 25 years.