Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook


A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

Includes energy companies, mobile phone providers, retailers, banks, insurance companies,debt collection agencies, reclaim companies, secondhand car sellers, cowboy garages, cowboy builders and all the rest who put their own profits before you.

£6.99



Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

£19.99 + £1.50 (P&P)


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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder Lionheart007 Novitiate



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    Default Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Help – falsely accused!

    I have received ESA (contributionicon based) since 2011.
    After years of only receiving awards letters that notified of payment rates,
    I received an Interview Under Caution (IUC) a few months back,
    which led to me realising that having claimed my pensions early for medical reasons last year, that I should have informed the DWP.

    I honestly did not know this, because none of the awards letters ever mentioned mention this,
    the last time I went on the .gov website regarding ESA was back around 2011/2012 when claiming my pensions was the last thing on my mind.
    Since 2011/12 my health has worsened and I went through a difficult divorceicon, the reasons why I claimed my pensions early.

    I went to the IUC and cooperated stating that I honestly did not know I needed to inform them when being on ‘contributions based’ ESA none of my x-wife’s earnings or savings dividends etc were ever taken into account.

    I expected to have to pay the overpaymenticon back AND “off recording” the DWP Officer said it was very unlikely I would be prosecuted.
    I paid the overpaymenticon when the letter confirmed how much I owed.

    HOWEVER,
    imagine my shock horror when I received a lettericon last week asking me to pay 50% of the overpayment (with loss of benefits for a month)
    OR face going to court to be prosecuted and get a criminal record?!
    – surely this is here to target benefit fraudsters NOT those who have acted in all innocence in a way that most people would understand in the circumstances?.

    At the moment I cannot afford a solicitor
    I feel that this is very unfair and am considering going to court and representing myself to clear my name,
    since I understand that even paying the Administrative Penalty is an admission of guilt

    I do not agree that I have committed an offence, let alone ‘knowingly’ withheld information without ‘reasonable excuse’.

    I also now understand that the amounts of money involved are below what the DWP would normally process this way
    and why they did not go down the civil investigation route I don’t know?
    (this apparently normally ends with a Civil Penalty of £50 instead of an Administrative penalty of £700+.....).

    With the stress of all this, on top of worsening health, and still coming to terms post divorce where the main factor was my poor health,
    any tips information recommendations would be great fully appreciated.

    THANK YOU.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    because none of the awards letters ever mentioned mention this

    every award letter says on its second line:


    you are required to immediately report any change in your circumstances to us, or the circumstances of your partner



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  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder spitfire1964 Novitiate



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    If you feel that what has been done is wrong, represent yourself in Court and argue your case.

    You need to see your doctor and how the situation is making your help worse and explain what I believe is a genuine mistake, get it all put on your medical records asap.

    Going to Court and representing yourself may well make the DWP think twice about prosecuting it gives you more time to prepare your case and you can put your case across.

    Courts unlike the DWP will probably look at the bigger picture and may consider your motivations and giving the extreme circumstances will be more human and consider the facts as opposed to the DWP finding everyone guilty because their rules have been breached, or not.

    Don't give in to them matey, fight your corner because if you don't, you will always be thinking if only I took that option.


  4. #4
    Basic Account Holder tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    @spitfire ..

    There is no corner to fight, OP failed to declare a change that all award letters tell them to report.

    He has been offered an administrative penalty for his innocent actions and representing himself at court will still find them landed with a criminal conviction as they have to declare a change in their circumstances.

    DWP have not found him guilty, you do not need to plead guilty to be offered an administrative penalty, the case just has to be prosecutable, it's also not the DWP that will be doing the prosecution as such but the CPS acting on there behalf.

    That being said any fine the courts give should be less than then the 50% amount the administrative penalty is offering, but then you have a criminal fraud conviction to report to any prospective employers etc.


  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder spitfire1964 Novitiate



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    If OP thinks he has been wronged, of course he has the right to fight his corner.

    What he has been offered by the DWP is just that, an offer, certainly does not mean that he is guilty because they make him an offer.

    Let the Courts decide, lets see if the DWP continue with their threats, OP has indicated that he is retired to so worse case scenario if and I mean if the Courts find him guilty, he will have a criminal record, so be it, its not the end of the world, but I don't think they will, if the OP explains his reasons.

    I am sure the CPS have better things as to consider rather than taking the easy option and prosecuting someone who I believe made a genuine mistake, to say that the DWP have not found him guilty of this, please explain why they are threatening or should I say, would need to involve the CPS?, the CPS only considering people that they feel are guilty, unless the OP has handed himself in or the DWP think that he is guilty?, what option are you taking, because it can only be one of the two.


  6. #6
    Basic Account Holder sgtbush Novitiate



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    you are required to immediately report any change in your circumstances to us, or the circumstances of your partner.

    This is the killer. The person failed to do this.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    You may not want to hear this about your situation IS SERIOUS


    You are required to notify the DWP of any changes as advised earlier. The section of law you will need to read up on is s111a and /or s112 of the SSA 1992 from here >>


    Here is what is said from https://www.criminallawandjustice .co...Fraud-Offences

    Last summer, the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, QC, announced new guidelines for prosecution of benefit fraud. One of the changes in these new guidelines is that prosecutors should charge under the Fraud Act 2006 where “the alleged offending merits such an approach and prosecutors anticipate a very substantial prison sentence”. The headlines that resulted from these new guidelines were that charging under the Fraud Act has a maximum sentence of 10 years, opposed to seven years under the Social Security Administration Act (SSAA) 1992. There are, however, other substantial differences between the general offences under the Fraud Act and the specific offences under the SSAA.


    The sentencing Council say this >> https://www.sentencingcouncil.org .uk...benefit-fraud/


    Dishonest representations for obtaining benefit etc Social Security Administration Act 1992 (section 111A)

    Tax Credit fraud Tax Credits Act 2002 (section 35)

    False accounting Theft Act 1968 (section 17)

    Triable either way

    Maximum: 7 years’ custody

    Offence range: Discharge – 6 yearsicon 6 months’ custody

    False representations for obtaining benefit etc Social Security Administration Act 1992 (section 112)

    Triable summarily only

    Maximum: Level 5 fine and/or 3 months’ custody

    Offence range: Discharge – 12 weeks’ custody

    Fraud by false representation, fraud by failing to disclose information, fraud by abuse of position Fraud Act 2006 (section 1)

    Triable either way

    Conspiracy to defraud Common law

    Triable on indictment only

    Maximum: 10 years’ custody

    Offence range: Discharge – 8 years’ custody

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  8. #8
    Basic Account Holder tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire1964 View Post
    If OP thinks he has been wronged, of course he has the right to fight his corner.

    What he has been offered by the DWP is just that, an offer, certainly does not mean that he is guilty because they make him an offer.

    Let the Courts decide, lets see if the DWP continue with their threats, OP has indicated that he is retired to so worse case scenario if and I mean if the Courts find him guilty, he will have a criminal record, so be it, its not the end of the world, but I don't think they will, if the OP explains his reasons.

    I am sure the CPS have better things as to consider rather than taking the easy option and prosecuting someone who I believe made a genuine mistake, to say that the DWP have not found him guilty of this, please explain why they are threatening or should I say, would need to involve the CPS?, the CPS only considering people that they feel are guilty, unless the OP has handed himself in or the DWP think that he is guilty?, what option are you taking, because it can only be one of the two.
    They are not threatening anything.

    OP has committed benefit fraud by failing to declare a change in income/earnings.
    Every letter received states changes you need to tell us about, oops I ignored that!

    As such he has been interviewed under caution and there is sufficient evidence to prove an offence has been committed.
    The actual OP appears to around the £1,500 mark looking at the what has been posted and an administrative penalty has been offered in the first instance as the case is prosecutable, that does not mean they are guilty, but there is sufficient evidence with which to get a conviction.

    Should they not accept then legal proceedings will be taken which is policy and standard practice.
    No threats it's all laid down in the readily available prosecution policy.

    Owing to issues you have with the DWP you are blinkered to them and we only have one side of the story here and from the fact that OP has failed to declare a change in their circumstances which everyone knows they have to do, it is clearly not a false accusation, as they have received money they must have known or been expected to know they shouldn't have.

    We do not know what was stated at IUC, what was put on any claim forms etc to be able to make the judgement that OP is totally innocent in this.
    Remember ignorance is not a defence.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    A criminal conviction IS a big deal and one most people would prefer to avoid as it is declarable.
    CPS is a big org who will prosecute anyone where there is a reasonable chance of a Conviction; this is one of those cases IMO. She can pay the adminicon Penalty to avoid prosecution but it will be noted on the claimant's Benefit file.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by mariner51 View Post
    CPS is a big org who will prosecute anyone where there is a reasonable chance of a Conviction
    That is only part of the CPS's yardstick.
    They have a two-fold 'basic standard'.

    First there must be: a 'reasonable prospect of a successful conviction', but secondly, it must also be 'in the public interest' to prosecute.

    They have added further details to their guidance regarding prosecutions for benefit fraud, in particular regarding their interaction with agencies such as the DWP, and I hope to do a more detailed post on these factors later.


  11. #11
    Basic Account Holder spitfire1964 Novitiate



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by tomtom256 View Post
    They are not threatening anything.

    OP has committed benefit fraud by failing to declare a change in income/earnings. Every letter received states changes you need to tell us about, oops I ignored that!

    As such he has been interviewed under caution and there is sufficient evidence to prove an offence has been committed. The actual OP appears to around the £1,500 mark looking at the what has been posted and an administrative penalty has been offered in the first instance as the case is prosecutable, that does not mean they are guilty, but there is sufficient evidence with which to get a conviction.

    Should they not accept then legal proceedings will be taken which is policy and standard practice. No threats it's all laid down in the readily available prosecution policy.

    Owing to issues you have with the DWP you are blinkered to them and we only have one side of the story here and from the fact that OP has failed to declare a change in their circumstances which everyone knows they have to do, it is clearly not a false accusation, as they have received money they must have known or been expected to know they shouldn't have.

    We do not know what was stated at IUC, what was put on any claim forms etc to be able ro make the judgement that OP is totally innocent in this. Remember ignorance is not a defence.
    From reading this you have already found OP guilty, some acheivment.

    As for being blinkered because of my issues with DWP, giving that I have just proved my case against them, blinkers must be working fine.

    Ignorance may well not be defence, but CIRCUMSTANCES leading upto and the fact that the OP has not got a criminal record, nor attempted to commit a criminal offence BEFORE are all factors that would be considered, IF THEY EVENTUALLY FIND HIM GUILTY.


  12. #12
    Basic Account Holder tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    So did they have a change in circumstances, yes.
    Did they fail to notify this change in circumstances, yes.
    Have they therefore failed to promptly notify a relevant change in circumstances, yes.

    Without the full facts i.e. both sides of the story and the actual circumstances of how this came to light,
    are they potentially guilty of a fraud offence, who knows,

    but as an administrative penalty is a sanction that does not have to prove guilt then they have not been found guilty of an offence,
    however they have been deemed to have failed to notify a change of circumstances,
    which the OP is admitting to which is sanctionable.

    As such no one has found them guilty, they have just been offered what the prosecution policy states should be offered.
    Can they decline this of course they can, in which case they will potentially go to court and could get something far worse.


  13. #13
    Basic Account Holder spitfire1964 Novitiate



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lionheart007 View Post
    Help – falsely accused!

    I have received ESA (contributionicon based) since 2011.
    After years of only receiving awards letters that notified of payment rates,
    I received an Interview Under Caution (IUC) a few months back,
    which led to me realising that having claimed my pensions early for medical reasons last year, that I should have informed the DWP.

    I honestly did not know this, because none of the awards letters ever mentioned mention this,
    the last time I went on the .gov website regarding ESA was back around 2011/2012 when claiming my pensions was the last thing on my mind.
    Since 2011/12 my health has worsened and I went through a difficult divorceicon, the reasons why I claimed my pensions early.

    I went to the IUC and cooperated stating that I honestly did not know I needed to inform them when being on ‘contributions based’ ESA none of my x-wife’s earnings or savings dividends etc were ever taken into account.

    I expected to have to pay the overpaymenticon back AND “off recording” the DWP Officer said it was very unlikely I would be prosecuted.
    I paid the overpaymenticon when the letter confirmed how much I owed.

    HOWEVER,
    imagine my shock horror when I received a lettericon last week asking me to pay 50% of the overpayment (with loss of benefits for a month)
    OR face going to court to be prosecuted and get a criminal record?!
    – surely this is here to target benefit fraudsters NOT those who have acted in all innocence in a way that most people would understand in the circumstances?.

    At the moment I cannot afford a solicitor
    I feel that this is very unfair and am considering going to court and representing myself to clear my name,
    since I understand that even paying the Administrative Penalty is an admission of guilt

    I do not agree that I have committed an offence, let alone ‘knowingly’ withheld information without ‘reasonable excuse’.

    I also now understand that the amounts of money involved are below what the DWP would normally process this way
    and why they did not go down the civil investigation route I don’t know?
    (this apparently normally ends with a Civil Penalty of £50 instead of an Administrative penalty of £700+.....).

    With the stress of all this, on top of worsening health, and still coming to terms post divorce where the main factor was my poor health,
    any tips information recommendations would be great fully appreciated.

    THANK YOU.
    Hi mate, how do you now understand that the amount of money involved is below what the DWP would normally process in this way (case law) and have you proof that similar cases have ended with a civil penalty as opposed to an Administrative penalty.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire1964 View Post
    From reading this you have already found OP guilty, some acheivment.
    No one has found the OP guilty, they are entitled to a presumption of innocence until they are found guilty by a court.
    However, that doesn't mean:
    a) that DWP can't seek an administrative penalty. nor
    b) posters can't give the OP an indication of how they think things will go if it does go to:
    i) the CPS, or then
    ii) prosecution.

    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire1964 View Post
    Ignorance may well not be defence, but CIRCUMSTANCES leading upto and the fact that the OP has not got a criminal record, nor attempted to commit a criminal offence BEFORE are all factors that would be considered, IF THEY EVENTUALLY FIND HIM GUILTY.
    Factors that count towards mitigation of sentence after a finding of guilt in court, not a defence to a prosecution......


  15. #15
    Basic Account Holder tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative tomtom256 Informative



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire1964 View Post
    Hi mate, how do you now understand that the amount of money involved is below what the DWP would normally process in this way (case law) and have you proof that similar cases have ended with a civil penalty as opposed to an Administrative penalty.
    Non-fraud cases tend to get a civil penalty i.e. someone notifies a change late, they get a civil penalty as there is no fraud interest.


  16. #16
    Basic Account Holder spitfire1964 Novitiate



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by BazzaS View Post
    No one has found the OP guilty, they are entitled to a presumption of innocence until they are found guilty by a court.
    However, that doesn't mean:
    a) that DWP can't seek an administrative penalty. nor
    b) posters can't give the OP an indication of how they think things will go if it does go to:
    i) the CPS, or then
    ii) prosecution.



    Factors that count towards mitigation of sentence after a finding of guilt in court, not a defence to a prosecution......
    No you do not give the facts in mitigation, you give the facts and the evidence during the proceedings.

    OP has clearly indicated that he never intended or was predominately motivated in committing an offence and he needs to give those reasons.

    Mitigating or pleading with a Court comes after a judgment is made, not before.

    What you are saying is that OP only uses his defence after he is found guilty, don't think so.


  17. #17
    Basic Account Holder spitfire1964 Novitiate



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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by tomtom256 View Post
    Non-fraud cases tend to get a civil penalty i.e. someone notifies a change late, they get a civil penalty as there is no fraud interest.
    OP has indicated that similar cases have been dealt with by Civil Courts, I am only going by what he has writing.

    The point that I am trying to establish is that if the OP can demonstrate that others who are guilty of what the DWP have claimed, he can rely on those cases if proven guilty to argue that he has been treated differently.

    It is my understanding that Judges will look at similar cases as a means of sentencing.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused Of Benefit Fraud - help?!

    What you said was:

    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire1964 View Post
    Ignorance may well not be defence, but CIRCUMSTANCES leading upto and the fact that the OP has not got a criminal record, nor attempted to commit a criminal offence BEFORE are all factors that would be considered, IF THEY EVENTUALLY FIND HIM GUILTY.
    "would be considered, IF THEY EVENTUALLY FIND HIM GUILTY." ; make your mind up if they are defence (which happens before a finding of guilt), or mitigation which happens "IF THEY EVENTUALLY FIND HIM GUILTY."

    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire1964 View Post
    No you do not give the facts in mitigation, you give the facts and the evidence during the proceedings.

    OP has clearly indicated that he never intended or was predominately motivated in committing an offence and he needs to give those reasons.

    Mitigating or pleading with a Court comes after a judgment is made, not before.

    What you are saying is that OP only uses his defence after he is found guilty, don't think so.

    OK, then, what is his defence, and to which charge(s)?.
    Do you think Ghosh is relevant?, (and if so, how?). If not, why not?.



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