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 September 2015) 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 Department for Work and Pensions identified a fraud of more than £17K. Appearing before Bradford Crown Court Miss M and Mr K pleaded guilty to 7 offences. These offences included a number of false statements as well as a failure to disclose their true circumstances. Miss M had claimed benefits as a single person. However she had failed to declare that she was living with Mr K and that she was also in receipt of Working Tax Credits. In sentencing the Judge took into account that the couple were repaying the money and that they had pleaded guilty as well as shown remorse for their actions. The couple were both given 12 month community orders and ordered to pay £300 towards the costs. Miss M was told to do 180 hours unpaid work while Mr K was ordered to do 80.
- Mail that had been returned from an address to Calderdale Council led to an investigation which resulted in a 10 week prison sentence for Mr M. The investigation identified that Mr M had deliberately set out to commit fraud as he had made a claim stating he was living at an address when the truth was that he had never actually moved in. As part of his scam he had submitted a false tenancy document. The fraud resulted in an overpayment of £1,700.
- Mrs B of Halifax received a 9 month prison sentence suspended for a year as well as a 3 month curfew order after pleading guilty at Bradford Crown Court. Mrs B had been charged with 4 offences under the Social Security Act and Theft Act. A joint investigation with the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that between 2005 and 2008 Mrs B had taken more than £11,000 in Housing and Council Tax as well as Income Support from the benefits system. During this period a number of false statements on benefit application forms had been made as Mrs B had failed to declare that she had more than £25,000 in savings.
- A man who had left the area continued to claim Housing Benefit from Calderdale Council for an address he was no longer living at. Between September 2008 and March 2009 Mr P continued to accept payments of benefit into his bank account knowing that he was no longer entitled to the money. After gathering the evidence Calderdale Council Investigators were able to find him and interviewed him under caution at his new address. Appearing before Calderdale Magistrates Court he pleaded guilty to 1 offence of failing to report the change in his circumstances which had resulted in him receiving more £2,300 in Housing Benefits. He was sentenced to a 6 month curfew order with 18 months supervision and he was also ordered to pay £250 in costs.
Between December 2006 and June 2008 a Halifax man claimed more than 6K in Jobseekers Allowance, Housing and Council Tax Benefits by not declaring that he was working for two local employers. Appearing before Calderdale Magistrates Mr B pleaded guilty to a number of dishonesty offences and was sentenced to 100 hours Community Punishment with costs.
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. The Council recovered all of the monies owed.
When faced with charges of Benefit fraud amounting to more than £15K, Miss M of Halifax pleaded not guilty and elected to go trial. Miss M faced there charges that between September 2011 and March 2013 she failed to tell Calderdale Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that she was living with her partner. After hearing the case she was found guilty and was sentenced to 160 hours Community Service as well as being ordered to pay £600 costs.