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Should I report my friend?

Tagged as: Friends, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (10 July 2022) 5 Answers - (Newest, 15 July 2022)
A female United Kingdom age 51-59, anonymous writes:

I'm in a quandary and would appreciate advice.

For over two decades I've been friends with someone that I can no longer be friends with.

The friend continually interrupts me and very often talks down to me, making me feel not good enough. I have really helped her but I have a tendency to be bullied by people. I've had a difficult life but I remain kind and somewhat naive with people. I had bad experiences of rejection and loneliness when I was younger, and have no family except my now adult daughter, so I tend to give people a huge amount of leeway in how they treat me because at times I've been so lonely.

As well as the above behaviours, I'm aware that this person is not honest. She lives an extremely luxurious lifestyle and has done since her early twenties when we met. Her partner owns a portfolio of properties and they live in a beautiful house. He is from a wealthy family and they are almost always going on holidays and buying expensive treats and luxurious. Despite all of this, my 'friend' was for some time illegally claiming benefits, pretending that she wasn't a couple with him. I know 100% she does not disclose this status of his when she is applying for things like a training course and a related bursary. She claimed to be on a low income and got a £1200 training course for £40, and got a bursary worth £3800 per year for two years, when the rules very clearly ask people not to apply unless they are genuinely in need of it.

I am not sure if they are evading tax, but I know she 'manages' his portfolio of rental properties and presumably this means whatever 'salary' he gives her means that he can then deduct this form his tax bill. Overall, I think his properties are worth in the region of £3 million and that he earns probably around £300K per year - he is a banker.

As well as this I think this person has anger issues. She has told me she screams at their child in the mornings, to the extent that even her partner says she is 'abusing' them. Recently, after she was extremely rude to me, I texted her with facts about how she had treated me. I didn't insult her, only reflected back to her how she had spoken to me and how stressful it was for me and said I would not speak to her in that way.

The result? She refuses to speak to me, basically taking the stance that I am in the wrong and it is she who is the injured party.

I went from being extremely confused, to then being so hurt, and then being actually angry. It dawned on me she has been using me all along. She can be completely lovely and charming and I thought she was a friend. But there have been countless times when, as well as talking down to me and interrupting me constantly, she sometimes compulsively talks only about herself.

I feel really hurt that she asked me to write her a reference to help her to get voluntary work in the place where I later learned she got the bursary. What I did NOT know at that time was that she had withheld the true information from them about her situation. I stupidly wrote her a beautiful reference and I feel used because this, I now wee, was absolutely key to her getting the voluntary work, then the bursary and more recently a paid part time role with the same organisation.

My partner says its sickening and I should report her for fraud. I'm realising I have made a huge mistake and that I was far too trusting. But should I report her? I feel really angry that I have become implicated in her scam somehow and I feel sorry for the organisation - they have a very limited amount of bursaries and she quite clearly doesn't need it. She's also mentioned something before about managing to get free dental treatment by using her father's address...I'm not sure what to do. Do I simply walk away from the whole thing and try to forget about her?

View related questions: bullied, on holiday, text

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 July 2022):

Why has it taken you twenty years to decide your friend is rubbish???

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 July 2022):

Thank you for your responses, they are helpful and I appreciate the time taken to write in.

In the end and after doing some research, I wrote a very simple request to the organisation that I wrote a reference for, asking to retract my reference for her and ensure it was not used for any purpose in future.

I did not say anything slanderous or negative. However, I no longer feel I can positively advocate for or support this person and I felt within my rights to at least ensure my name and my professional reputation are protected from being associated with her in future.

I’m so sad, and I have learned a lot through this. I really do hope she finds an honest way forward.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2022):

You call them partners, but are they married? He may only be a generous guy who allows her to live with him. He is not legally responsible for her financially; but there is no law against accepting gifts. However, she should not be collecting benefits and cannot collect them unless she discloses her actual place of residence. If she's living in luxury and the government finds-out, she will be in a heap of trouble. The government does have to requalify people for social benefits; and if she's lying to them, it's only a matter of time before she'll be caught.

I don't think the government is totally unaware; I suspect they are building a case against her. Do you think you're the only person who knows what she's doing? She has other friends, family members, and must consult with a social worker to maintain her benefits. If she isn't married, she isn't necessarily doing anything wrong. She has to maintain her own place of residence, or she will lose her benefits. She may be grandstanding, and helping him; but she doesn't know when all this will come to an end.

I don't condone doing things to people out of envy or vindictiveness. If you're as kind as you say you are, and think she's such a bad person, why not just cut all ties and move-on? Whether you report her or not, this is all going to catch-up with her. If the man isn't her husband, he's otherwise just a generous sugar daddy who likes to splurge his money on her. He could kick her out at any given time.

You could send the government an anonymous tip. If you did, will you still have a clear conscience?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2022):

I agree with Honeypie.

I cut off all ties with a "friend". She was always careful not to do anything illegal. She either incited others to do it for her (believe it! It is possible!!!) or made sure that it cannot be traced back to her.

I remember she once asked me f I could take with me some cash over the border (we live in Europe). She made it sound as if it were not a big deal and we were basically already there (we were driving with some friends in 3 cars). We were barely 18 years old at the time (so legally adults!). Thank God my bf at the time was there and started asking questions. She was so angry with him! He told her that if it were not a problem, why wasn't she doing it? She lied that she too would be carrying the smae amount. When asked to show it to us, she didn't want to. In the end she didn't cross the border, but took her car and drove back. Some time later I bothered to check (there was no internet at the time, I had to find somebody who actually knew the law... hahaha) and it was "horribly illegal". The person who's actually in the possession of cash is held responsible. And my friend knew it and was ready to make me risk my future and my life! I have no idea why I stayed in contact with her after that. Youth, I guess.

I saw her on several occasions abuse her mother not only verbally but phisically too! Her mom never wanted to report this, otherwise I would have given my statements to authorities gladly. She kept saying how she has "the perfect relationship with her mother"

Since I cut her off, I've heard from poeple I trust that she is now doing the same thing to her infant son (she paid IVF with an anonymous sprem doner). She talks about her son as if he were perfect, but when he does something she doesn't like (behind the closed doors) she yells at him, shakes him, breaks things down in her house in front of him...

If I hadn't seen her actually do this to her own mom, I would have never believed it myself! Now I believe it.

You need to walk away for your own sanity.

In my friend's case, until she does something in public there's nothing to be done. She always pays her taxes and watches her signatures on everything. I guess the same goes for your friend.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (10 July 2022):

Honeypie agony aunt"Do I simply walk away from the whole thing and try to forget about her?"

I would.

It's going to be hard for YOU to prove she doesn't live with her dad and I doubt the Government has the time and people to look into whether or not she committed fraud. UNLESS it has something to do with taxes.

Also, it seems you want to do this out of revenge and that is just getting in the gutter WITH her. IMHO.

Although the abusing her kids I find it disgusting but not sure what could be done there. Yelling at kids, is not good but I doubt (again, without evidence) that anyone is going to look into it, IF reported.

Take a deep breath, enjoy the yoke of her "friendship" being off your shoulders. BLOCK, DELETE her on everything, and move on with your life. And perhaps take this as a hard-knock lesson in NOT letting people treat you like shit from now on.

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