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Caught Committing Fraud

What happens to people that are caught?

Benefit Fraud is taken very seriously. Nationally, around 10,000 people are prosecuted and convicted every year for benefit fraud offences.

Where we believe that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, the Council will consider, in accordance with its Sanctions Policy, what further action will be taken.

Caution

  • This means that the Council considers it has grounds to prosecute, but has decided to offer the opportunity to accept a Caution in respect of the offence committed. The Council will only offer this if an offence has been admitted at the Interview Under Caution.
  • If a Caution is accepted, the Council will not pursue the case to court.
  • The Caution is recorded with the Council and should an offence occur in the future this would be considered in any further recommendation or proceedings.
  • If a Caution is not accepted or if the person fails to attend the appointment, the case will be passed to the Council's Legal Department to consider legal proceedings.

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Administrative Penalty
  • This means that the Council considers it has grounds to prosecute, but has decided to offer the opportunity to accept an Administrative Penalty in respect of the offence committed.
  • If an Administrative Penalty is accepted, the Council will not pursue the case to court.
  • An Administrative Penalty is 50% of the benefit that has been overpaid. This will need to repaid this in addition to the overpayment. The Administrative Penalty is recorded with the Council and should an offence occur in the future this would be considered in any further recommendation or proceedings.
  • If an Administrative Penalty is not accepted or if the person fails to attend the appointment, the case will be passed to the Council's Legal Department to consider legal proceedings.

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Prosecution
  • This means that the Council considers the case serious enough to instigate legal proceedings from the outset and proceed to Court by way of a summons. The case will initially be heard in the Magistrates Court, however depending on the nature of charge or circumstances, it may be considered 'so serious' as to be heard in Crown Court. Proceedings in court taken by the Council are usually under Sections 111 or 112 or the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (Amended 1997), however other charges may be used where appropriate such as the Fraud Act 2006.

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Please see related links for the following:

  • Some recent cases
  • Guidance notes on completing Fraud referrals
  • To complete a Suspect Person's Details and Allegation Form (Fraud Referral Online Form)

Page Last Updated: 20/12/2013