Published: Thursday, 30th March 2023

A criminal investigation has uncovered a nearly decade-long fraud against the Royal Borough of Greenwich 

Ms Elizabeth Byrne, of Abbey Wood, exaggerated the level of care she needed, which was provided by her neighbour, Mrs Karolyne Anderson. In reality, the pair were cashing in and splitting the wages the Council paid Mrs Anderson directly for Ms Byrne care.  

Both pleaded guilty at trial at Woolwich Crown Court, having been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Council of nearly £94,000 over a period of nine years. Ms Byrne and Mrs Anderson were sentenced on 23 February to a two year and one year suspended prison sentence, respectively.  

The judge said: "The Royal Borough of Greenwich should be congratulated in bringing this prosecution against the defendants to court because this type of case needs to be prosecuted.  The Council and its taxpayers are the victims in this matter.”  

Cllr Ivis Williams, Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources and Social Value, said: “It’s beyond the pale that someone would try to take advantage of a scheme designed to support people who provide vital care for vulnerable residents.  This result demonstrates that the Council will investigate and prosecute those who are bending the system for their own personal, and illegal, gain.”  

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Adults' Social Care, added: "Our Direct Payment scheme gives people with disabilities greater choice and independence, and thankfully it is a rarity that someone would want to take advantage. Highlighting this isolated case is so important because we want every penny available to go to those who need it."

Ms Byrne had stated that she had disabilities that meant she needed to use a wheelchair outside of the house because she could barely walk and couldn’t be outside the property or drive without a carer being with her at all times.  

After council officers became suspicious, investigators carried out surveillance and discovered this was far from the truth.   

They spotted Ms Byrne walking unaided and even driving around alone. During the surveillance her accomplice and supposed carer Mrs Karolyne Anderson was not seen to visit Ms Byrne’s address, despite living just over the road.  

In addition to the surveillance, the Council obtained copies of bank statements that revealed that as soon as the Royal Borough of Greenwich had paid Mrs Anderson her wages, half was transferred to Ms Byrne.  

If you suspect someone is committing fraud against the Royal Borough of Greenwich, please call 0800 169 6975 or email Any information you give will be treated in confidence.