The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) defines benefit fraud as when someone obtains benefit to which they are not entitled or when someone fails to report a change in their personal circumstances that would affect their benefit entitlement.
The most common form of this type of fraud is when a person continues to receive state benefit after beginning employment. Other common forms are when recipients of benefit fail to declare assets or savings or untruthfully claim that they live alone.
Benefit fraud is a serious offence and can result in a custodial sentence where the loss is substantial.
When the DWP begins an investigation, the benefit recipient will be invited to attend an interview under caution. Early legal advice is essential because of the implications of any initial admissions.
Charges are invariably brought under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 or the Fraud Act 2006. Defending such proceedings requires a comprehensive knowledge of the law and application to facts.
A conviction will often be followed by confiscation proceedings.
Contact David Bloom or David Sonn.