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article imageMan charged for running and coaching while on sick pay

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 1, 2010 in Crime
Croydon - A former Commonwealth Games athlete was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay back money he collected in sick pay, after he was found guilty of defrauding his employers.
Sprinter Matthew Thomas, 34, was ordered to repay almost £12,000 to his former employer, Newham Council. He must also carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £8,000 in costs.
Thomas had previously told his employers that he could not do his job as a payroll officer because he injured his back when he fell from a ladder. He was filmed taking part in running events and coaching youth during that period.
He led coaching sessions for Met-Track, an athletics program set up by the Metropolitan Police.
"You were a person of previous good character, held in esteem by your community,” BBC News reported that Judge Nigel Gerald told Thomas.
"You have stated your concerns that you have now been branded as a common criminal, but that is because that is what you are."
The St. Lucia athlete had been found guilty of seven counts of fraud by false representation for submitting sick notes saying he was not able to work.
He was cleared of three counts of fraud by false representation and one count of failing to disclose information regarding his athletics coaching.
"It is perfectly clear to me that you used this period to fund, fraudulently, a career change from working in payroll, a job you found dull, to athletics coaching, a job that suited and inspired you,” Sky News quoted Judge Nigel Gerald as telling Thomas.
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