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gina11x

Accused of benefit fraud

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Hi i have just received a summons for me to attend court for benefit fraud and i'm worried sick at what will happen, and whether the court will actually believe me. Me and my partner had a very on off relationship for years we always claimed together when we were together then he would always leave and i wouldn't see him for ages then he'd come back to see the kids and eventually we would get back together. The last time we split up was nearly 5 years ago i was pregnant and he decided to leave me again i decided enough was enough and i didn't want him back. I had my son early and he was in intensive care so i did contact him to let him know. He was living at his mums at the time. His mum died the following year and as he couldn't carry on living there he moved in with our oldest daughter and her husband. I saw him whenever he saw fit to come and see the kids. We saw him quite alot over the xmas. Then over the new year after afew bottles of wine i ended up getting pregnant again. I still didn't want him back and he stayed with our daughter. I was very ill with my pregnancy and was admitted to hospital in the end till she was born. He did stay at my house to look after the kids whilst i was in hospital and i didnt think that was wrong as he left as soon as i got home. We saw him afew weeks after that then i never saw him for 4mths until he moved back in with our daughter and in june he started making an effort to try and see the kids again. This is where things went crazy in july last year i received a water bill in his name backdated to jan last year i dont pay my waterbill and i did think he had done it to help me out so i asked our daughter and she said he hadnt however she had just moved and when she had gone to collect her post from her old address the tenant said the landlady(supposedly my friend) had taken the post as there were letters for someone who wasnt meant to be living there. I then knew that the waterbill had deliberately been changed and she'd done it for a reason. As far as i was concerned i wasnt doing anything wrong and let him still come and see the kids he was actually taking a proper interest in them he was working and seemed to have changed his life around when they all got ill he stayed over a couple of nights to help with them so i could get some sleep 6 kids with tummy bugs and chicken pox was really stressing me. In November i got a letter saying i had a iuc so i went as i thought i'd explain that we werent living together but if we did get back together i'd let them know and they said they didnt believe me as they had been watching my home for 5 months in whichtime they had seen his car 21 times, him 5 times, they wouldnt believe me about the waterbill and they had my childrens birth certificates and i hadnt stated he lived at a different address even though we werent asked that when the children were registered. I know that he wasnt living here and that she changed the waterbill to make it look like he was he left his car at mine somenights so did my daughter as they lived about 150yds up the road if the dwp had sat and watched my house they woud have seen him come and collect it in the morning but they either just drove by or watched for 45mins at about 6am. Anyway they stopped my bens in jan and wouldnt change the decision, so i eventually agreed to let him move in so that he would pay my rent but so he couldnt just walk out on us this time i made him marry me, now my marriage is a mess and i'm due in court next month and i'm worried noone will believe me and i'll go to prison he'll leave again and my kids will be devastated and the person who did this to me will get away with it. Any advice would really be appreciated

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This type of man only sticks around when there's something in it for himself. What you've described is a mess... the DWP have obviously been tipped off by someone; probably a neighbour and have watched both of your movements in order to get evidence against you. Letting him move in will not have gone in your favour... and neither will you marrying him.

 

My advice to you would be to focus on yourself and your kids for a change and less upon what this man should be doing in relation to sticking around, seeing the kids and so on. If you don't, he'll be in and out of your life like a yo-yo.... taking whatever your offering at the same time while it still suits him to stick around.

 

You can try and explain all of this to the DWP, but they'll deal with evidence at the end of the day. Your only hope is that that they don't have enough to work against you.

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I do agree this has turned into a total mess, i did try to explain it to the dwp however they didn't believe me about the water bill being changed by someone else prior to them reporting me (i know who reported me however they said it was an annoymous tip off). I really did think that as i had nothing to hide from them, that they would believe me. Looking back this was a stupid assumption on my part. I do understand i also did myself no favours in letting him move in when they stopped my benefits, however i was so scared i'd lose my home it seemed the best thing to do, and i thought getting married would be some sort of security, so he couldn't just walk out again. I just really don't know what more i can do if they won't believe the truth.

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Hi, Have They Stopped Your Benefits, Have You Got A Solicitor And Did You Take One With You To Your Iuc.

You Need Legal Help And Can He Prove He Has Mail Going To His Own Address Seeing Him 5 Times Is Not Alot In 5 Months And You Can Have Someone Stay Just Not All The Time They Would Of Just Drove Past At Different Times They Would'nt Be Sat Outside All That Time Or They Would Have More Proof.

They Have To Disclose All This Information To You So Get Your Solictor To Get It For You,also Go To The Doctors As You Wont Be Sleeping And You Are Very Stressed Get My Drift!!

How Much Money Are They Asking You To Pay Back Because Someone Should Appeal This For You It Makes A Difference What The Amount Is In Court There Are Things Like Is Your Partner Working Or Not This Could Make The Amount Less If WHAT IS YOUR COURT DATE IS IT COUNTY OR CROWN

Edited by ipodtouch

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Hi, yes they stopped my benefits in January this year, i have made an appt to see a solicitor on Thursday as i do think i need legal help. I didn't have a solicitor when i went for my interview as stupidly i thought as i had done nothing wrong i wouldn't need one. They have sent me copies of there so called evidence and you are right they did just drive by at a certain times and i think they sat and watched for about 45mins on certain occassions i do wish they would have sat and watched everyday then they would have seen that he didn't live with me.

The main things they are going on are, the water bill being in his name, 2 birth certificates as they dont show a different address for him even though when the children were registered we weren't asked whether we lived together, although saying this they aren't saying we were living together at them times, a bank account that he opened when we were living together and claiming together however he stopped using that account and never changed the address when he moved out, and it is still registered at a address i left nearly 4yrs ago, they say as when he visited the little ones some mornings i used the time to study that we must have an emotional bond. And finally the survellance and the fact that his car was parked on my drive 21 times in 5 months the survellance also shows the times they actually came and his car wasn't there but they don't seem to be looking at that side of it.

The amount is about £8500 made up of housing ben, income support and council tax, it's for ayear as when the water bill was put in his name it was backdated for 6months so they are using this as the date even though the waterbill was changed just prior to me being reported in june or july. He was working for an agency on minimum wage at the time so if he had of moved in with me we would have been entitled to help with the rent and council tax. It wasn't a financial reason that i didn't want to live with him it beause i didn't trust him. I'm in magistrates court in Jan.

Thankyou for your help

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hi, its only prison sentence if its over 20,000, you can put a claim in together for working tax and childtax etc and you can apeall the money they say you owe ring cab and ask about this. because i think you only have so many weeks to do it, don't be worrying they go home at 5 so you need to switch off so you can get your head clear try and think of the dates where he came in the morning before school etc things will become clearer when you can think straight remember its only money and you and your kids are ok and thats the main thing just because you are on benefits doesn't mean you can't have a life they make you feel like your nothing. is there anything in joint names? and can he get old letters from his address anything you can think off, and anybody can take anyone to court that does not mean they will win, did they ask your parner to come for an interview,

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Custodial Sentences can be, and are imposed for benefit fraud under £20K. However they are more likely (if you are convicted) to impose another penalty, such as a fine for example. Prison is always a last resort, particularly where there are children involved. You will have to pay the money back, if convicted.

 

The appeals tribunal will not entertain an appeal whilst a case is subject to criminal proceedings. If you are convicted you can appeal the conviction and/or the sentence but this is done via the courts, not the DWP/council. If you are not convivted and the DWP/Council seek repayment of the "overpayment" then you would look at appealing.

 

I would urge you to secure legal representation, you may be eligible for legal aid but this needs to be applied for (in most cases) - sooner rather than later. You can calculate whether you ar likely to qualify for legal aid here: Calculator

 

Court is not a nice experience by any stretch of the imagination, and if you are inexperienced with the court system, a solicitor would be far better a bet than going it alone.

 

Question - when you say:

 

I then knew that the waterbill had deliberately been changed and she'd done it for a reason.

 

and

 

I know that he wasnt living here and that she changed the waterbill to make it look like he was

 

Who are you referring to? Who is it you think changed the water bill into his name?


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Hi Erika, thankyou for you advice i am dreading court i really am worried about this part of it as i don't know what to expect and as i have told the truth so far and noone believes me, i'm going to court expecting them not to believe either. My daughters landlady is who i think changed the waterbill and then reported me, i've known her for years as i rented off of her before i moved into a ha hse and i did think we were friends until i left her property and had afew nightmares with her ie getting my deposit back, then withholding certain letters, moving new tenants in even though housing ben had said the place needed to be empty for the notice period. A couple of months later my daughter and her husband became homeless and against my better judgement i asked her for help she rented my daughter a hse and told her she could rent the rooms out to help out with the rent which she did to my other daughter and a friend of her husbands however their friend moved out and as my daughter was on maternity leave they struggled with the rent and as far as i know thats when her dad moved in. A few months later she was given a ha property and ended the tenancy early which the landlady wasn't to pleased about. Then my daughter went to collect the post a few wks later and the new tenant said the landlady had taken the post as there were letters for someone who wasnt meant to be living there. I then had the waterbill come through and it was backdated to when my daughter was homeless and i asked her for help. I know it is her that has done this the only problem is i don't know how to prove it.

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Hi ipodtouch,

I am going to cab on wednesday to see if they can help me.

No there is nothing in joint names we were separated for a number of years and all my bills were in my name, and any that were in his before we separated were changed to mine. He has his old mobile phone bills, some bank statements and wages slips from last year (After he moved in with our daughter) and i think he also had his driving licence, bankstatements, and he was at some point getting jsa from his address before he moved in with our daughter.

No they never asked him to go for an interview and from the survellance evidence they only went to my daughters address once and his car was there but they never looked again. I really just don't know what to do anymore.

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hi gina, stay strong and stick to your guns they will cling on to what they have when you go for your legal advice you will feel much better its not as cut and dried as they make out someone will listen to the circumstances behind all this remeber you have to go in knowing you have not done anything wrong and you are a victim not a criminal get that into your head first.

your not on your own there are loads of people going through the same thing ,

write every thing down so its clear for you to see i know its easy to say but don't let them take over your life its still only money at the end of the day spend a little time going over things then put it away and relax.

more things that will help you will come to you then.

It's christmas soon then your day in court will come and your solicitor will be dealing with it by then so keep your chin up xx

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Hi ipodtouch, I am going to stick with it, and as crazy as it may sound it is the truth at the end of the day, so i have no choice but to see this through. Even though i feel like screaming inside, this whole thing is starting to have effects on the rest of the family and i think thats the hard part for me. My daughter is starting to blame herself, which really upsets me as it wasnt her that made up all this nonsense. I went to cab today, they went through the survellance evidence and it seems most of the survellance was on certain days of the week, which i feel is quite ridiculous as if i saw when someone was visitng and spent the next 4mths going on them days i would know chances are they would be there. They said i was better off seeing a solicitor so i have a appt to see one tomorrow, hopefully he'll have some sort of good news for me fingers crossed.

I have been looking on the site and i was really shocked at the amount of ppl going through similar things, you do feel very lonely, scared and in my case angry going through this and i think the fact you can share your experiences here really is a great support.

Thankyou

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hi gina,

just have a look at this solicitors website it just gives you a bit of information about working out the money they say you owe so it changes the amount before you go to court so you do need a solicitor that deals in benefit fraud not one that just deals in criminal law,

(edit) Did the cab say anything that helped did they think they had enough to prosecute?

can I ask if they had your bank statements or spoke to your neighbours.

let me know how you get on tomorrow,but don't say to much on here because they do go on and look at these sites and remember keep your head up and don't let it control your life or they have won. p.s look at the website

Edited by ErikaPNP
please refer to section 8 of the site rules

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hi they won't let me put the solicitors web site on just try and search for one that will sort out the correct amount of money that they say you owe.

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