Benefit Fraud Solicitors

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Solicitors for Benefit Fraud Investigations

Benefit fraud is the deliberate act of falsely claiming government benefits or providing incorrect or misleading information to receive financial assistance to which you are not entitled. In the United Kingdom, benefit fraud is a serious offence with legal consequences, including monetary penalties and imprisonment.

Facing allegations of benefit fraud can be an incredibly worrying time, and the consequences of being found guilty can significantly impact an individual’s financial stability, reputation and freedom. If you’ve been accused of benefit fraud, it is vital that you seek legal representation as soon as possible.

To ensure the best possible outcome for your case, we will thoroughly assess all available evidence to build a robust defence. If you have been wrongly accused of benefit fraud, we will work diligently to find evidence to have your case dismissed. Should you have committed the offence, we will aim to secure the most favourable sentencing outcome for you.

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What is Benefit Fraud?

Benefit fraud is a term used to refer to the crime committed when an individual provides false information or fails to divulge necessary information to obtain or continue receiving benefits to which they are not entitled.

There are several types of benefit fraud, including:

  • False representation: Providing incorrect or incomplete information on application or renewal forms for benefit claims.
  • Concealment of information: Failing to report any changes in circumstances that affect an individual’s eligibility for benefits, for example, changes in income, employment status, or living arrangements.
  • Identity fraud: Using the identity of another individual or providing false documentation to claim benefits.
  • Failure to report: Neglecting to inform DWP about any changes that may affect entitlement to benefits—i.e. starting work or cohabiting with a partner.
  • Abuse of benefits: Deliberate manipulation or exploitation of loopholes in the system to receive benefits for which one is not eligible.

In addition to benefit fraud, individuals may be part of other criminal activities, such as money laundering, moving illegally obtained benefits through various financial transactions, like buying assets or transferring money between accounts, to make the money seem legitimate. This process hides the illegal origin of the money to make it harder for the police to trace and recover the stolen funds.

If you have been accused of committing benefit fraud, our expert solicitors can help you navigate the legalities of such an accusation. We’ll be with you every step of the way, reviewing the evidence to see the charges against you dropped or to reduce the severity of your sentence as far as possible.

What are the Implications of Benefit Fraud?

Whilst many people may consider benefit fraud to be a victimless crime, there are numerous far-reaching implications and consequences. Not only does benefit fraud defraud UK taxpayers, but it also undermines the integrity of the entire welfare system.

Benefit fraud can have a detrimental impact on society in several ways. Financially, it places an additional strain on public resources by diverting funds intended for those in genuine need. Moreover, fraudulent activities can disadvantage vulnerable individuals and families who rely on benefits for essential support. Fraud can also erode public trust in the welfare system, creating a perception of unfairness.

Legally, benefit fraud is an offence under UK law, which can lead to severe consequences such as fines, imprisonment and the repayment of fraudulently claimed monies. Whether you have defrauded the benefits system intentionally or unintentionally, our specialist benefit fraud solicitors are here to provide legal guidance and support as you navigate your arrest, questioning, trial and sentencing.

What are the Penalties for Benefit Fraud?

The penalties for benefit fraud in the UK depend on the severity of the offence and the amount of money involved. The key measures include:

  • Caution: Formal interviews are conducted during benefit fraud investigations. Admitting to an offence at this stage may result in a caution instead of prosecution. A caution does not create a criminal record but is recorded for five years.
  • Community orders: Imposed for less severe offences. Requirements can include rehabilitation actions, unpaid work, curfews or activity restrictions.
  • Fines: Categorised into bands A-F, with A being 25-75% of the defendant’s relevant weekly income and F being 500-700%. Fines serve as a deterrent and are paid in addition to repaying any benefits overpayment.
  • Eviction: If convicted of council housing or benefit fraud, such as unauthorised subletting or staying after the tenant’s death, the local authority can evict you without notice.
  • Ceased Benefits: During a benefit fraud investigation, sanctionable benefits may be stopped, and non-sanctionable benefits will not be stopped. You will be informed in writing if your benefits are affected.
  • Custodial sentences: Reserved for the most severe offences. Pleading guilty before the Court may reduce the final sentence.

If you are suspected of benefit fraud, seeking legal advice early is crucial. Our specialist fraud lawyers at Clifford Johnston & Co. provide expert guidance and representation to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Interview Under Caution

If you have been suspected of committing a benefit offence by fraud investigators, you will likely be summoned to attend an interview under caution. Any evidence provided during this interview can be used against you in court, making the process stressful and intimidating.

At Clifford Johnston, we can assist you throughout this process. Our experienced solicitors will ensure your legal rights are protected and help you prepare an effective action plan so you know what to say and what to avoid during the interview.

What Happens if I’m Prosecuted for Benefit Fraud?

The decision to prosecute is made when sufficient evidence is gathered against a claimant; this initiates legal proceedings, starting with a court summons requiring your attendance to present your case.

The Crown Prosecution Service treats benefit fraud prosecutions with the same seriousness as other criminal prosecutions. However, in some instances, a local authority may take on the prosecution. Depending on the nature of the offence, your case may be heard in either a Magistrates’ Court or a Crown Court.

During prosecution, all evidence will be thoroughly examined. A benefit fraud solicitor will guide you through the entire process, ensuring all necessary evidence is presented effectively to support your defence.

Contact our Benefit Fraud Solicitors

If you are facing allegations of benefit fraud, call our expert Criminal Defence Solicitors today.

People choose us to represent them because of our outstanding client care and exceptional reputation. Our impressive record of success rightly brings us national recognition, and our criminal solicitors will work tirelessly to protect your livelihood, reputation and liberty.

With offices in Manchester and Stockport, we offer accessible and expert legal advice at affordable and cost-effective prices.

Contact Clifford Johnston & Co. today for expert legal advice. Our solicitors are here to help you through these challenging times with confidence and clarity.

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Do you have any issues that you are worried about? Contact our professional team for a free, no-obligation informal discussion, where we can discuss your particular requirements in greater detail.

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