Once an investigation has identified that an overpayment of benefit has occurred, this must be repaid. If there is evidence that a person has committed a criminal offence, then the Council may decide to take further action.
Further action can include the issue of a formal caution, administering a financial penalty or ultimately prosecution through the courts.
|(Figures to 31st March 2018) Calderdale Council has administered:|
Below are details of some of the benefit fraud cases that have recently been successfully prosecuted:
- A joint investigation between Calderdale Council and the DWP resulted in a Halifax woman receiving a suspended sentence after she was convicted of claiming more than £18K In Housing Benefit that she knew she was not entitled to. Between 2012 and 2016 the woman claimed as a single person but failed to declare that she had a partner living with her. The Council were alerted to the fraud as part of a national data matching exercise that showed the partner to be living at the claim address.
- A series of land registry checks identified that Mrs M had provided a number of false tenancy details and claimed more than £23K in Housing Benefit for a property that she owned. When she appeared at Court in May 2017 Mrs M was convicted and sentenced to 8 months in prison which was suspended for 2 years, she also received a 150 hour Community Punishment order. A Compensation order was granted under the Proceeds of Crime Act and the £23K was paid back to Calderdale Council in a single lump sum.
- When he appeared at Bradford Crown Court Mr B pleaded guilty to 20 separate accounts of fraud and making false representations. The charges involved him making false statements to Calderdale, Kirklees, Bradford and Selby Councils. Mr B had used the identities of friends and a relative to obtain a variety of payments including Incapacity benefit, Housing and Council Tax benefits. Between 1996 and 2013 he stole more than £230,000 of taxpayers money. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison. Calderdale Council recovered all of the monies owed to them.
- A data match with Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs identified that between July 2015 and August 2017 Miss H had failed to inform Calderdale Council that she was working for a large national retail company and that she had claimed £3.9K in Housing benefit that she was not entitled to. Following the investigation Miss H agreed to pay a financial penalty of £1.9K on top of the overpaid benefit which will be recovered in full.
In March 2018 an Elland woman received 70 Hours Community Punishment Order as well as having to pay costs and a victim surcharge after she was convicted of failing to report that she had been working in a local care home. During the investigation the woman had been adamant that she had declared her earnings to both the Council and the Department for Work and Pensions however a thorough check of both organisations records failed to find any notification of her employment.
An anonymous referral made through the Councils website led to an investigation which established that Mr A had failed to report that his partner had been working as a local sales representative for a large cosmetic company. In March 2018 he agreed to pay a financial penalty of £655 on top of the overpaid Housing Benefit. Both the overpayment and penalty will be repaid in full.