What is Fraud?
Benefit fraud is when a person receives more than they are entitled to by knowingly or dishonestly withholding or falsifying information about their claim. This also applies to someone who receives benefit for another person - such as an appointee, a landlord or landlords agent.
What is Torbay Council doing to crack down on Fraud?
During 2012 - 2013, the Council’s dedicated Fraud Team investigated over 496 cases of suspected fraud. 96 cases were either prosecuted or sanctioned.and £297,584 of fraudulent Housing and Council Tax Benefit overpayments were identified.
Several of the cases that were prosecuted for Benefit Fraud received suspended prison sentences, community punishment orders, conditional discharges and fines imposed by the Courts.
Types of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Fraud
- Undeclared partner:
Not telling us about your partner when you first make a claim, or not letting us know when your partner moves in during your claim.
- Undeclared earnings:
Not telling us about any employment you, or your partner, either have when you first make your claim or start during your claim.
- Undeclared income:
Not telling us about money you have coming into your household, either when you first make your claim or during the time you are claiming. This could be from Tax Credits, other benefits, private pensions, or rent from a lodger.See the information on change of circumstance for more details on what income changes we need to know about.
- Undeclared capital:
Not telling us about capital you have either when you first make your claim or during the time you are claiming. This includes any accounts, savings, and investments you, or your partner, have and any property you, or your partner, own, whether someone is living there or not
Other types of benefit fraud include:
- Not living in the property you are claiming for.
- Not declaring all the people living with you.
- Falsifying documents or evidence
Report a change in circumstances
It is very important that you let us know if you have had a change of circumstance. If you do not report changes promptly you may be overpaid and have to repay the overpayment.
In some cases further action could be taken against you which might be a financial penalty, a formal caution or even prosecution. More information is available in the Councils Fraud Prosecution and Sanction Policy.
What happens if we want to speak to you about your claim?
If we have reason to believe that you have committed an offence we may invite you to attend an Interview Under Caution. This does not mean that we believe you are guilty and will prosecute you, it means that the evidence gathered so far has indicated that you may have committed an offence.
You do not have to attend an interview, as they are voluntary. However, non-attendance may mean we will take further action and in very serious cases we can ask the Police to issue an arrest warrant.
If you attend an Interview Under Caution you can bring a friend or relative with you, as long as they are not connected to our investigation. You can also bring a solicitor or legal advisor if you wish.
How to contact the Counter Fraud Unit
If you suspect anyone of fraudulently claiming, you can:
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone on 0800 731 2731
- Print off the reporting fraud form, complete it and either send to us at : Torbay Council (Fraud Team) Town Hall Castle Circus, Torquay TQ1 3DS or drop it in to one of the Connections offices.
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