Benefit Fraud is committed where a person dishonestly claims more financial benefits than that they are entitled to. Fraud is covered under the Fraud Act 2006 and requires that a person must be dishonest in their actions, such as lying about their financial circumstances.
If you were to find yourself under investigation for this offence, you would first be contacted by either the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Service and Personnel and Veterans Agency or your local authority. You would then be interviewed under caution by either a police officer or an internal officer from the DWP or HMRC.
If charged, you would find yourself at the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court if the court deem the case to be serious enough.
If convicted of Benefit Fraud, you could be expected to pay back the overpaid money received or you may be made to pay a fine between £350-£5,000 or receive a punishment including community service, probation or a prison sentence. Your benefits may also be reduced or stopped for up to 3 years. If heard at the Crown Court, a Judge could impose a variety of sentences including a prison sentence if the case was deemed serious enough.
Benefit Fraud is therefore a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. It is best to have a solicitor represent you in these matters as Fraud is a complex matter which often requires expertise, particularly in weighing up the evidence.
At Paul Robinson, solicitors are readily available to cover police interviews under caution, as well as Magistrates and Crown Court hearings. You are entitled to free and independent legal advice at the police station if you are being interviewed under caution. We offer a friendly, professional and non-judgmental approach to all clients at a critical and traumatic time.
If you find yourself in such a situation, please call 01702 338338 or our 24/7 out-of-office number 01702 342525.
This article does not necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not designed to provide legal or other advice. If you require specialist advice on this topic, please contact us to discuss how we may assist you.