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tufker

Interview under caution - some advice

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Hi All,

 

This is my first post on these forums, but most certainly not my first visit.

 

Earlier this year, I received a letter asking me to attend an interview under caution. The interview was relating to a considerable overpayment of one specific benefit and, quite frankly, there was no questioning the figure or the validity of the accusation. Naturally, I researched the possible consequences and spent some time reading these excellent boards. I postponed the meeting briefly whilst I considered seeking legal advice and spoke to a couple of solicitors, the latter of which advised me to save my money for the subsequent court hearing and approach the interview alone, armed only with humility (this was never going to be a problem) and honesty. The interview was brief and, whilst it would be inaccurate to describe the interviewer as friendly, he was exceptionally professional and administered none of the heavy tactics I was dreading. We discussed my personal circumstances and he recommended to his superior that I should be fined for the offence (35% on top of the repayment) and to keep the matter out of court. Naturally, I was ecstatic and incredibly grateful for this recommendation and spent a few nervous days waiting for the decision of his superior. When he phoned me back just a few days afterwards, I was utterly gobsmacked when he told me his boss had elected to waive the fine altogether and offer me a civil caution. The caution was dependant on providing some evidence of some mitigating personal circumstances which I subsequently did. I must also say that I made a point of saying during my interview that I did not want or expect these mitigating circumstances to be considered and that I was thoroughly aware that my actions were wrong and dishonest.

 

Once I had provided this evidence, I was invited to a second interview where I was given my caution - a non-criminal matter that has no effect on my employment/credit rating future etc. Throughout this second interview (with the original interviewer's boss) I was treated fantastically and offered genuine advice of how to go about claiming legitimately and accurately should the need ever arise in the future. There is no disguising that this interviewer really was friendly and supportive and I was treated better than I can ever have imagined (or deserved for that matter).

 

I should make very clear that the whole process leading up to the interview was petrifying and it was a horrific time for me and my family. However, you reap what you sow and having behaved dishonestly, it was the least I deserved and when I attended my first interview I was fully prepared for any eventuality. I haven't mentioned figures or time scales here, as I would like to maintain a degree of anonymity, but I can assure you that the Council in question could have taken a far harsher line with me and I am incredibly grateful for the empathy and leniency they showed me.

 

Finally, I'll come for the actual reason for taking the time to post. If anybody finds themselves in this position, PLEASE be honest and upfront with the interviewer. These guys would rather be preventing benefit fraud than investigating it. And to those people actively and knowingly committing fraud, I also beg you to stop. As I know from my own experience, the fear of actually being caught far outweighs the financial reward and once the crime has been detected (I was actually genuinely relieved when I was caught) it is like living hell on earth waiting for the interview and wondering what the future holds.

 

As this is my first post, I'd be grateful if a moderator would inform me if this is a reasonable thing to be writing on the forum and would welcome any feedback.

 

Here’s to an honest, law abiding future.

 

Thanks for listening,

 

Tufker.

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Moved to Benefits Forum.


Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

Make sure you do not post anything which identifies you. Although we can remove certain things from the site unless it's done in a timely manner everything you post will appear in Google cache & we do not have any control over that.

 

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As this is my first post, I'd be grateful if a moderator would inform me if this is a reasonable thing to be writing on the forum and would welcome any feedback.

Tufker.

 

Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to write this on the forum. Advocating fraud is not accepted on CAG, but this is not advocating fraud, it's educating others.

 

There are many people who having done no wrong, are invited to interviews under caution and who, upon looking at some forum posts in relation to this immediately panic. Your experience shows that it is not always the head hunt it is made out to be, and that even when a person has unwittingly committed fraud or has done so in times of genuine desperation, the relevant department can take this into consideration when deciding upon a penalty. Not everyone who commits fraud does so as a military planned operation to feed their greed, and generally the relevant department will take this into account where there is evidence to support the claim of mitigating circumstances.

 

We always encourage people who openly admit they are commiting fraud to be upfront about it, and it has to be said that a person seeking a way to commit fraud or a manner of "getting away with it" when they receive the written invitation to an IUC will not get that assistance from CAG.

 

The authorities dealing with fraud are generally more lenient to those who don't give them the runaround and those who have mitigating circumstances, but again it would depend upon the depth of the mitigating circumstances, and the level of the fraud committed.

 

Your posting also shows that anyone who commits fraud will have to pay the money back and in some cases face a penalty, as well as detailing the emotional anguish that commiting fraud can cause a person. Those who are feeding their greed will be dealt with far more harshly.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience; it serves as a warning as well as an education to others.


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

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Hopefully your post will go some way towards dispelling the fear that people have when getting IUC letters. Yes it is serious, but it does not mean that the interviewer is going to treat you badly.

 

Good luck in the future Tufker.


Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

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