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What is most likely to happen in this situation?


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The DWP have to prove reasonable grounds of intent to commit fraud. For smaller amounts, you would in all probability get a demand to repay the full amount along with a nominal "fine" on top. If you can demonstrate lower levels of savings for the period(s) in question, the final figure being demanded could be substantially reduced as it progresses through the appeal process.

 

The chances of you or your partner being prosecuted for fraud is minimal - These things usually go to court for habitual fraud over a significant period of time and the amounts involved are substantial (e.g. £20,000+).

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He failed to inform the DWP that he received this money from his mum's death that was put into his ISA and also failed to inform them about the ISA when he applied as a joint claim with me this year and last year. I am the main claimant this year and I knew nothing about his ISA until now when the DWP asked me in to discuss it. We apply for this benefit every year for about 3 months while we wait for college to start back up.

 

Have all the claims been false from the outset or just the latest joint claim?

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His first ever claim for JSA was as a single claim when he was 18 and that wasn't false from the onset. He got money that his dad set up for him about 3 months or so into his claim.

 

We applied over the summer last year as a joint and he never declared his savings (though they were under 16,000) and this year they were under £6,000 and didn't declare them and I was the head claimant this year as I filled out the form.

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The original claim being valid to start with is good because false forms, especially multiple ones are practically impossible to explain away.

 

Take a look at Sinkinghelps huge thread to see a totally inevitable outcome when he failed to declare an occupational pension on a claim form.

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?327885-DWP-Interview-Under-Caution

 

Joint claims muddy the water slightly but unfortunately I've been out of the loop too long to be able to confidently tell you what might happen next.

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Thanks, just had a quick read through it. The council seemed awful harsh!

 

Also been reading up on similar stories and found instances where someone who was accused of benefit fraud had their house raided by the police :jaw: that shocked me. I hope that never happens to us if my boyfriend does get charged for benefit fraud.

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Also I am wondering why it was a customer compliance interview rather than an IUC. Are compliance interviews usually done before IUCs? Its been over a month and neither me or my partner have heard anything relating to the customer compliance or anything else from DWP

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Also I am wondering why it was a customer compliance interview rather than an IUC.

 

I didn't realise it was Compliance dealing with the case. That is much better for you.

One of the many things they do is deal with files that have been downgraded by the Fraud section.

 

They will take a statement, correct the benefit awards, calculate any overpay & cannot prosecute you.

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Ah I thought you got a compliance interview first and then they refered you for an IUC. All they done was ask me about his ISA (which I literally knew nothing about), took a statement, I signed and they gave me a form to give to him in order to fully check his account I am assuming. He filled it out and returned it on the same day.

 

He also had shares for a while as well as an ISA. It was part of the deal his dad set up for him. Half his mum's inheritence went into shares and then half in an ISA. Came to £15, 000. They never mentioned the shares at the interview though, just the ISA.

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Me again. I am still worried sick over all of this :( I am not eating, barely sleeping and I suffer from depression and have for many years and recently it has gotten worse and the doctor has put me on prozac and referring me to the mental health team.

 

I still haven't heard anything in regards to the compliance interview I had a month ago. I was talking to some friends and they said maybe the compliance interview was for the joint claims we were both on (3 months last year and 3 months this year) and because it wont be a large amount of an overpayment for that, the compliance team will just deal with that and either they will deal with his single claim or bring compliance into that too. But more people have said that I probably got the compliance interview in order to build up a case for doing him for fraud because they needed more proof he has an ISA. They now have that A24 completed form. The fact that he hasn't heard a peep makes me think that they are building up a case against him and will be sent an IUC date through.

 

I am terrified that either both of us or just him, is going to go to court and ultimately get jailed, especially as I said he has been in trouble with the law before, though for nothing to do with money and I have read recently that courts are getting a lot stricter on benefit fraud, whether it was intentional or not.

 

My mum is coming into some money next year and she is giving me a couple of thousand and my bf still has £4000 odd in his savings which he said will be getting kept for any over payments so hopefully those combined will be enough to pay off overpayments. Surely it will be for about 2 years of JSA and a year max of HB and CT reduction, especially as his savings weren't always at the higher end of the cut off.

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you should just calm down about it,your chances of going to prison are zero,worse case scenario is paying back the overpayment and perhaps a penalty payment,dont get yourself worked up over something you cant change,dont let your imagination run wild,just put it out of your mind till they send you an invoice for whatever amount it is and then pay that and you can move on,thats what I did with mine,all the worrying in the world wont change nothing,the dwp are not in the business of jailing people unless your a lifelong offender defrauding them for thousands,just relax..

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Thanks, I am the world's biggest worry wart no matter what the situation is. I was more worried about my partner going to jail rather than me since he has his single claim along with our short joint ones over the summer this year and last and because we have also had HB and CT, not just JSA.

 

I can't thank you all enough on here though for your advice and info.

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Also I meant to ask, if I do get a letter from compliance saying there is an overpayment due, will that be from any claims since he has had his ISA or just from the claim that was open I got called into the interview last month?

 

If its from the latest claim I can't imagine there being any over payments since his savings were under £6000.That claim has also ended as well now.

 

I can only imagine being asked to pay overpayments from his single claim and our joint one last summer though I would think that if those claims were getting brought up for overpayment, he would have had an interview of some sort now.

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Hi in regards to the overpayment question. If you do hear back from the compliance team in regards to any overpayment, I imagine it will be from your joint claim from this summer and possibly last summer. I can't imagine your partner's single claim being brought up as an overpayment to you. I would assume they would interview him before persuing his single overpayment. If you do get an overpayment for this year or last years claim, don't worry it will be nowhere near enough for a jail sentence and you probably wouldn't even be fined, just told to pay it all back as it would be a very small amount as his savings were low last year and as you say, under £6000 this year. There might not even be an overpayment for this year due to his amount of savings.

 

He probably will be called in for an IUC or an interview with compliance. You are right, maybe they did interview you in order to get more info to persue a case with him but on the other hand, his case could have been downgraded by fraud to compliance.

 

The fact his biggest claim was not fraudulent from the get go is a good sign and the overpayment for JSA I would say is around 2-3000. That isn't enough for a jail sentence. I don't know how HB and CT do their overpayment calculations but I imagine that coming to roughly the same amount. I would say that overall his overpayment will be well under £10,000 which may seem like a lot but if he is willing to put the remainder of his savings towards paying it off, that'll be a big chunk of the overpayment gone and that will be good in his favour. Would he be pleading guilty at court or IUC do you think? A lot of people do that even if they didn't intend to commit fraud, in order to get things dealt with quicker and not having to go to trial. (not saying he should, its his call but just wondering if he had mentioned it)

 

You also said you are worried because he has been in trouble with the law before. While that does come into account with sentencing if it does go to court, usually as long as there have been no convictions of fraud in the past and no other crime related to anything else they have ever been charged with in the past, its usually ok. They will take his age, if he is a student, any family problems etc all into account too.

 

I know the UK is coming down hard on benefit cheats and from what I have read, Scotland seems to impose stiffer sentences on benefit fraud compared to England, but seriously I wouldn't worry about prison. Obviously no one here can say it definetly wont happen, but as long as you are both willing to re-pay, show your are sorry for what you have done (whether it was intentional or not) and comply fully with any department that interviews you, you and your partner should be ok.

 

There's no point in jailing someone for benefit fraud when its this amount of overpayment. Jail for benefit fraud should only be for those who do it for years, show no guilt and defraud thousands and thousands of pounds.

 

So stop worrying, I know its hard believe me! If possible contact a lawyer and CAB in order to gain more advice and hopefully some peace of mind too

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I am trying to get my head around the fact that you state he was on JSA for 2 years but was a student. You cannot claim JSA if you are a student, however you may be able to claim JSA during the break at the end of the year if you cannot get work. Can you please clarify this point? Thanks.

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He wasn't a student when he was on JSA for 2 yrs. He had just been kicked out his dad's and that is when a big fight took place with them which resulted in his trouble with the law. He got off with community service and probation due to the fact his dad started it and he was drunk. He was on JSA as a single claim from Nov 2009 to Aug 2011. He became a student in Aug 2011 and didn't claim again until the next summer due to the summer holidays when college had finished and then the same this year.

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Hi in regards to the overpayment question. If you do hear back from the compliance team in regards to any overpayment, I imagine it will be from your joint claim from this summer and possibly last summer. I can't imagine your partner's single claim being brought up as an overpayment to you. I would assume they would interview him before persuing his single overpayment. If you do get an overpayment for this year or last years claim, don't worry it will be nowhere near enough for a jail sentence and you probably wouldn't even be fined, just told to pay it all back as it would be a very small amount as his savings were low last year and as you say, under £6000 this year. There might not even be an overpayment for this year due to his amount of savings.

 

He probably will be called in for an IUC or an interview with compliance. You are right, maybe they did interview you in order to get more info to persue a case with him but on the other hand, his case could have been downgraded by fraud to compliance.

 

The fact his biggest claim was not fraudulent from the get go is a good sign and the overpayment for JSA I would say is around 2-3000. That isn't enough for a jail sentence. I don't know how HB and CT do their overpayment calculations but I imagine that coming to roughly the same amount. I would say that overall his overpayment will be well under £10,000 which may seem like a lot but if he is willing to put the remainder of his savings towards paying it off, that'll be a big chunk of the overpayment gone and that will be good in his favour. Would he be pleading guilty at court or IUC do you think? A lot of people do that even if they didn't intend to commit fraud, in order to get things dealt with quicker and not having to go to trial. (not saying he should, its his call but just wondering if he had mentioned it)

 

You also said you are worried because he has been in trouble with the law before. While that does come into account with sentencing if it does go to court, usually as long as there have been no convictions of fraud in the past and no other crime related to anything else they have ever been charged with in the past, its usually ok. They will take his age, if he is a student, any family problems etc all into account too.

 

I know the UK is coming down hard on benefit cheats and from what I have read, Scotland seems to impose stiffer sentences on benefit fraud compared to England, but seriously I wouldn't worry about prison. Obviously no one here can say it definetly wont happen, but as long as you are both willing to re-pay, show your are sorry for what you have done (whether it was intentional or not) and comply fully with any department that interviews you, you and your partner should be ok.

 

There's no point in jailing someone for benefit fraud when its this amount of overpayment. Jail for benefit fraud should only be for those who do it for years, show no guilt and defraud thousands and thousands of pounds.

 

So stop worrying, I know its hard believe me! If possible contact a lawyer and CAB in order to gain more advice and hopefully some peace of mind too

 

 

Thanks for your reply. It has helped calm me down a bit.

 

I think he would be pleading guilty because whether it was intentional or not, he still committed fraud by not declaring his ISA/shares even though everything came under £16,000. His dad wants him to plead not guilty because he told his son his benefits wouldn't be affected (he thought it was 20,000+ that affected benefits. His dad has never been on them before) and that even though he was overpaid and didn't declare it, it wasn't intentional but my partner just wants to get it all over with as quickly as possible and just plead guilty and show that he f**ked up and doesn't want his education and life ruined because of this.

 

Will he be likely to be able to receive legal aid? He is a full time student at college atm on a college bursary, not student loan.

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Yes I think he will be able to receive legal aid though you would have to check to be certain.

 

I think worst case scenario is that he would be giving a suspended sentence. I don't think a judge would want to send him down for months when he will be paying whatever he owes back, especially in a large lump sum with the remainder of his savings, he is sorry for what he done, hasn't been in trouble with fraud before and has commitments such as education (not saying that would definitely keep him out of jail but for the probable amount he has been overpaid, all these things add up to make jail took very unlikely)

 

 

The only things that may work against him is that he never declared his savings on any of the claims he has ever made and that he has been involved in a joint claim before. He was entitled to money since his savings were under the limit (except for that fortnight they were above) so that is a good sign. It would be a lot worse say he had £20,000 in his savings and never declared them and wasn't entitled to any benefits. You would be looking at a very big overpayment there.

 

How is he coping? I know you are very worried but what about him?

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Yes I think he will be able to receive legal aid though you would have to check to be certain.

 

I think worst case scenario is that he would be giving a suspended sentence. I don't think a judge would want to send him down for months when he will be paying whatever he owes back, especially in a large lump sum with the remainder of his savings, he is sorry for what he done, hasn't been in trouble with fraud before and has commitments such as education (not saying that would definitely keep him out of jail but for the probable amount he has been overpaid, all these things add up to make jail took very unlikely)

 

 

The only things that may work against him is that he never declared his savings on any of the claims he has ever made and that he has been involved in a joint claim before. He was entitled to money since his savings were under the limit (except for that fortnight they were above) so that is a good sign. It would be a lot worse say he had £20,000 in his savings and never declared them and wasn't entitled to any benefits. You would be looking at a very big overpayment there.

 

How is he coping? I know you are very worried but what about him?

 

 

Hi. He is coping ok at the minute. He is worried to death about there even being a remote chance of going to prison. I reckon if he gets called into an interview, that'll be when I see how truly worried he is. He is putting on a brave face right now mostly. He doesn't like talking about it either. I bring it up and something he will snap or tell me to change the subject, another sign its getting to him. He's also terrified the police come to the door and raid the house. This happened to someone he knows and its put the fear of God into him. We don't have anything worth taking other than our laptops but the fact of having the law and police involved scares him.

 

Yeah he is worried to that the fact it wasn't just the one long payment, but a series of claims. Only the first one was not 'fraudulent' from the start and that was the longest claim and probably the one he was will owe most overpayment to. Yeah you are right I think. I think it would be a lot worse if he wasn't entitled to ANY of the money he ever got from benefits due to his savings always being over the limit.

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It's not at all likely that the police will raid the house. I know it has happened, but these cases are normally ones where large amounts of money are involved. Normally investigations are conducted by DWP fraud officers. As I understand it, it's the Compliance team who are dealing with things right now, not the Fraud Investigation Service. Compliance can't prosecute, and they certainly can't smash down the door of your house.

 

There's no chance that the police will raid the house to take stuff in order to repay the overpayment - that's just not how it works. Cases like this have two elements: overpayment (which is a civil matter) and fraud (which is a criminal matter). It is possible to be overpaid without committing fraud, indeed, most overpayments are not fraud. But even if it is decided that there is a non-fraudulent overpayment, no-one can smash down the door and take your things. He would have to be given the opportunity to repay before any civil court would authorise such action - and rest assured, things like that do need to be done with a court's permission.

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It's not at all likely that the police will raid the house. I know it has happened, but these cases are normally ones where large amounts of money are involved. Normally investigations are conducted by DWP fraud officers. As I understand it, it's the Compliance team who are dealing with things right now, not the Fraud Investigation Service. Compliance can't prosecute, and they certainly can't smash down the door of your house.

 

There's no chance that the police will raid the house to take stuff in order to repay the overpayment - that's just not how it works. Cases like this have two elements: overpayment (which is a civil matter) and fraud (which is a criminal matter). It is possible to be overpaid without committing fraud, indeed, most overpayments are not fraud. But even if it is decided that there is a non-fraudulent overpayment, no-one can smash down the door and take your things. He would have to be given the opportunity to repay before any civil court would authorise such action - and rest assured, things like that do need to be done with a court's permission.

 

Thanks I will pass that onto him.

 

See because when he got money from his mum's death, it was originally £17,000 odd but £15,000 was invested into stocks and an ISA. Will overpayments likely be calculated from what he was first given or to what was put into ISA and shares? The 17,000 was only at that for a about 20 days and then the shares and ISA was set up. I know his dad told him to buy a laptop and driving lessons and I assuming that was paid for off of the money that didn't get invested but not sure. I don't know how it all works. He is screwed for overpayment of they go by having 17,000 at one point even just for a few days.

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Thanks I will pass that onto him.

 

See because when he got money from his mum's death, it was originally £17,000 odd but £15,000 was invested into stocks and an ISA. Will overpayments likely be calculated from what he was first given or to what was put into ISA and shares? The 17,000 was only at that for a about 20 days and then the shares and ISA was set up. I know his dad told him to buy a laptop and driving lessons and I assuming that was paid for off of the money that didn't get invested but not sure. I don't know how it all works. He is screwed for overpayment of they go by having 17,000 at one point even just for a few days.

 

The calculation of any overpayment will start from the day he became the "beneficial owner" of the money. That means, in effect, the day he had free access to it. So for example, if any of it was placed in a trust fund that he could not control, it may not count. However, if he had free access to the ISA and free rights to sell the stocks and shares, then it would count.

 

Assuming he had full access to the entire £17,000, then the relevant date will be whenever this money was placed under his control. It doesn't matter whether it was cash, ISAs or shares, except that in some cases (as I mentioned above) a "cost of sale" deduction may apply and that would possibly reduce the amount of any overpayment by a small amount.

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I think that for the short time he did have over 16,000 in his account, they will charge him the full overpayment and you say that was for about nearly three weeks so at worst it'll be 2 or 3 full JSA payments. After his savings went to 15,000 exactly, I think they would calculate an overpayment based on that and same for how much else was in his account every other week he was in recepit of benefits.

 

They will take his age at the time, sale of shares etc into account when calculating overpayment. I don't think they would calculate his overpayment for his entire two year claim based on he only was over the limit for a short time. If they did, the overpayment would come out to about £6,000. If they calculate from what was put into stocks and shares (15,000) you are looking at just over 3,000. I think for overpayment of HB and CT , they wont take the fact he was once just over the limit as you say he was on JSA long before HB so at least his savings were settled at that point. I am sorry though, I don't know how LAs work out overpayments on HB and CT to give you a rough idea. He would have been entitled to both, maybe not the full amount but the fact he was entitled to it in the first place is a good start.

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This may sound callous, but he is guilty whether he did it knowingly or not knowing is irrelevant and it woudl be best if he pleaded guilty and threw himself on the mercy of the court and offered mitigating circumstances. I know it does sound harsh, but courts are not that scary and it is unlikely he will jailed or anything like that! Remember court cases on TV are over dramatised to appeal to an audience so don't use them as an example to cause you worry.

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I do agree that pleading ignorance while true or not, goes for nothing in these situations.

 

OP. I do agree with the above poster that pleading guilty if it gets to IUCs and court, probably would be his best bet whether he meant to do it or not. People rarely get jailed for this and if mitigating circumstances are met such as his age, his willingness to pay it back (the fact he'll be cleaning out his savings to pay off a chunk of it is good because it shows he can't do this again), he is regretful, his JSA claim was not fraudulent from the on set, wasn't living lavishly, he is a student and is progressing etc.

 

If his case is ever held at a sheriff/magistrates court, it is more than likely he won't be put in jail. I would imagine his case would go there rather than the crown court. Crown court cases are usually for high end fraud cases and those who plead not guilty and need to be heard on trial.

 

Try and keep calm both of you. Lots of people have been in this situation before on here and have lived to tell the tale and 90/95%, maybe even more, never got jailed. The worst was a suspended sentence which I think would be the worst your partner would get. I think for your 2 short joint summer claims, that might be dealt with separate, maybe through an ad-pen or caution because the overpayment would be so small and especially because compliance are dealing with it, well at least your latest claim.

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