A Kilmarnock-based psychic who calls himself Scotland’s Straight Talking Medium pled guilty to fraud.
George Wyllie, who travels the world with his private readings and live demonstrations as a medium, admitted fraudulently claiming £8500 worth of disability benefit to which he was not entitled.
Wyllie, of Annandale View, Crosshouse, admitted the offence at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week.
The court heard how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) received an anonymous tip-off that the 37-year-old was working full-time as a spiritual medium, performing on stage for hours and mobile when attending appointments.
An investigation carried out by the DWP revealed Wyllie had been travelling for his work and had conducted vlogs on the streets of New York – all while claiming personal independence payments (PIP).
The fiscal depute told the court: “There was a video uploaded on the accused’s website entitled in May 2017.
“It shows the accused able to stand and move for prolonged periods.
“It shows him able to bend forward, reach below his knees and withhold that position and straighten up again without any problems.”
She added: “Surveillance shows the accused undertaking activities at his home address in contradiction to his claim for PIP.
“He was viewed carrying a TV, carrying out gardening activities, using a water hose, moving wheelie bins and able to walk more than 40 yards.
“Footage at Glasgow Airport shows the accused en route to New York travelling alone and at one point holding a bag in excess of 200 yards.
“His video blog shows the accused broadcasting live and conducting a blog while walking around the streets of New York.”
Wyllie’s Facebook page George Wyllie Medium & Psychic shows a number of videos and live vlogs updating fans on his upcoming events and activities.
His website, which describes him as “The Real Deal bringing proof of life after life”, documented his trip to New York in July 2018, including a hand-held video of him walking through downtown Manhattan on his way to the theatre.
He pled guilty last week to claiming £8500 of PIP to which he was not entitled between May 2017 and November 2018 at a former address in Kilwinning.
His agent told Sheriff Alastair Watson that Wyllie suffered a range of mental health conditions including a personality disorder.
She said: “This was a man who thought he was not doing anything wrong.”
However, Sheriff Watson replied: “If you can walk about the streets of New York, taking international flights, you do not even remotely meet the requirements for PIP. He did not need much advice to find that out.”
The lawyer replied: “His personality disorder clearly had an impact on him.
“He has developed a split personality as a way of coping with life.
“He has shown remorse and recognises the damage his actions have caused to society by impact on the public purse.
“With the hopes he has for his business he hopes he can repay that sum.”
Sheriff Watson told Wyllie: “You are a fraud.
“You have obtained PIP when you clearly were not entitled to it and it must have been absolutely obvious to you that you were not entitled.
“I feel sorry for all the genuine claimants who are made to go through rigorous and sometimes embarrassing examinations. They all suffer because of people like you.
“It is dishonest people like you that cause the need for these rigorous examinations. You are so close to custody.”
Wyllie was sentenced to 12 months of supervision and placed under a curfew order, forcing him to wear an electronic tag and remain at home between 7pm and 7am each night for three months.
A DWP spokesman told the Kilmarnock Standard: “Benefit fraud is a crime that diverts money from those who really need it.
“In addition to any sentence imposed by the court people must pay back all the money they falsely obtained.
“We have zero tolerance of anyone fraudulently claiming benefits and will take swift action to investigate and help bring them to justice, as we did in this case.”
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