Man convicted of fraud for using his dead mother-in-law’s blue badge

A man who pleaded guilty to using his dead mother-in-law’s disabled parking badge has been ordered to pay over £800 by the courts.

A blue badge sign attached to a wooden beam. It states, blue badge holders only.

Francisco Fernandez was caught parked on double yellow lines in Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea in July 2022, by a plain-clothed counter fraud officer during a routine blue badge fraud detection and deterrent exercise.

He explained his mother-in-law was not with him but at home. Suspecting fraud, officers kept the blue badge. Further investigation found that Mr Fernandez’s mother-in-law had died in October 2021.

In interview, Mr Fernandez said that he knew using the blue badge was wrong, but he didn’t realise it was a criminal offence.

He appeared at Basildon Magistrates Court on Wednesday 19 April 2023 and pleaded guilty to false representation concerning use of a blue badge. He was fined £369 and ordered to pay a £148 victim surcharge and £320.10 in costs.

Shaun Dutton, counter fraud and investigation manager, said: “Mr Fernandez cooperated with the investigation and expressed remorse for his actions.

“The council is committed to tackling this issue head-on, hence the routine detection and deterrent exercise. Blue badge fraud is a matter of concern to residents and most people, including Mr Fernandez make the mistake of thinking misusing a blue badge is a traffic offence, not a criminal offence.

“Simply put, if the blue badge is not in your name, or the person whose name it is in is not with you, do not use it.”

Published: 26th April 2023

Southend-on-Sea City Council