An amateur bodybuilder has been ordered to pay £35,000 after he was filmed pumping iron while claiming a back injury had left him wheelchair-bound.
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Curt Gorog, of Emley, Huddersfield, tried to claim a £150,000 payout for an injury sustained in 2012 which he said left him disabled. Until March 2016 he attended benefits assessments in a wheelchair and claimed £50,000 in welfare payments.
But a surveillance operation by QBE Insurance and run by law firm DWF revealed Gorog completing a weight routine in a gym. Social media photos showed Gorog posing by a new Mercedes he claimed belonged to his partner – a nursery nurse.
QBE Insurance began investigating Gorog because of the large number of whiplash and personal injury claims he had made.
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Gorog tried to abandon his claim when his insurer confronted him with the evidence, but the company continued to pursue him through the courts.
At a hearing at Manchester County Court this month, he was quizzed about a conviction for assault in February 2015, his muscular build and the footage of the press-up routine.
Gorog said his muscular physique was all down to “good genetics”.
The presiding judge ruled Gorog lied for years about his health, and said he used the wheelchair to trick the Department of Work and Pensions into paying out benefits he did not need. He was ordered to pay £35,000 in legal fees.
Paul Holmes, of DWF, said: “The more we and our clients looked into Curt Paul Gorog, the more concerned we became.
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"Here was a man claiming he could not work, and even attending benefits assessments in a wheelchair. However, he was involved in criminal acts and attempting to escape from police when supposedly incapacitated, and was filmed in the gym lifting very heavy weights.
"Gorog now has a judgment against him for £35,000 he owes our client. We will also be raising this case with the relevant authorities.
"Gorog thought he could walk away when faced with the evidence, but our clients would not allow that to happen. Our clients are determined not to allow fraudsters to walk away without penalty as this behaviour affects the premiums of honest policyholders."