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Benefit Fraud Advice


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Hello to everyone on this site and I hope someone can give me and a friend some much needed advice.

 

I am a landlord of a property and have rented my property out to a women who has 2 children since 2001.I was very good friends with her step father who I have known for 20 years.

 

The property was pretty run down and as I have been on a low income for a number of years agreed to let my friend keep up the maintenance on the property in return for a lower rental charge. I have a small business and he agreed to turn the garage into a storage/office space for me with the agreement that I paid for all of the materials.

 

I visited the property regularly and my friend often came down to the office to chat and have cups of tea etc. In 2012 the lady complained of Rats getting into the property through the kitchen that had not been renewed for years and asked if I would renew the kitchen as she was terrified as were her children .

 

I agreed and again my friend did some of the work along with a friend of mine from where I lived. Over this time I got to know the lady a little more and we got on quite well and we started seeing each other socially. In this time that I had got to know her it came to my attention that she had some issues around cleanliness and she opened up to me about her mental issues that had been on going over 20 years.

 

This was centred around being obsessive with various things and being a hypochondriac It turns out that she had been thrown out of three doctors in the last year and was taking tablets like they go out of fashion. Through all of this a quite liked her and felt for her with these issues and our socialising grew and we were seeing each other more and more.

 

We spoke about living together but as she had 2 children and these issues I was unsure although we got on quite well her son lived in the property and was unwilling to contribute to any of her bills etc even though he was working. I suggested that she asked to help or move out and he chose to move out.

 

She had informed the Social security that he was living their and the lady had to find extra money to put towards the council tax payment, again he would not contribute so he moved in with his grandmother.

 

I stupidly agreed to stay at the house as she was scared of staying their with her younger daughter with no man in the house. I used her sons bedroom and helped her out financially when I could although she was responsible for her bills etc.. This went on for over a year and I then insisted that she had to gain work if our relationship was to continue.

 

She gave out 50 CV`s and her metal history kept being a barrier to her finding work.One morning bang bang on the door and in came the police etc.We were taken to the police station and interview seperately under caution where we both gave the same staement (the truth) and subsiquently 6/7 months later the DWP have written to her saying she has had an 8,600 overpayment and she has to pay it back.

 

We dont know if they are going to prosecute on top of this and she is worried as she has no money and is struggling to find employment because of ther mental state.She has sen numerous doctors etc about her condition and is on lots of medication.She even failed the drugs test in the police station.

 

My character is very good as my work is working with disabled young people and ex offenders with re-abillitation.

 

We were silly and i should have known better than to stay at the property although i spent most of the week at my own house.She is petrified and inconsolable and although she has Recieved this letter is still worried they will proecute her.

 

I am also unsure if they will prosecute me futher down the line.Any advice or help would be a massive help to us.

Edited by honeybee13
Paras.
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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

I'll move your thread to the benefits forum, where we deal with this sort of query. I'll leave a short term redirect from this forum to the new one for you to follow.

 

And I'll break your post up into paragraphs to make it a bit easier to read for the advisers. :)

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I think you and she would be best served by seeking advice from a lawyer. On the face of it, you can see why fraud investigators might well regard you and this lady as being a couple, especially since you helped her out financially. £8600 is a large overpayment and while her health might provide some mitigation, I'd have to say that prosecution is not unlikely for this sum.

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Thanks for your advice and I completely agree that it does not look good at all. HB Can you tell me where I can go to view any advice at all. What she is desperate to understand is that does the letter of offer to pay back or enter into an agreement to payback mean they may not prosecute and also can I be prosecuted myself?

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Thanks for your advice and I completely agree that it does not look good at all. HB Can you tell me where I can go to view any advice at all. What she is desperate to understand is that does the letter of offer to pay back or enter into an agreement to payback mean they may not prosecute and also can I be prosecuted myself?

 

Hello there. I'm not sure what you mean about viewing advice, but there are plenty of threads here about benefit fraud if you have a look around. I expect there will be other replies - you've only been here for a few hours.

 

It's difficult for us to guess what the benefits people might do though, because we haven't seen all the information. Sorry.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Sorry what I mean is where are you going to redirect it to so I can maybe look at anyone who posts a reply

 

HB meant she would move the post to the Benefits Forum, which is where it is now.

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The main question is after she has received a letter giving her the details and amount of overpayment does this suggest that they will accept an agreement to repay without prosecution?

 

That's an offer they can make, yes, although obviously we can't say for sure because we've not seen the letter. But in some cases, the FIS will offer an Admin Penalty - usually 30%, I think, on top of the overpayment amount. If she accepts this and keeps up payments, they will not prosecute. They're not obliged to make this offer (and she's not obliged to accept it if they do) and bear in mind that merely repaying the overpayment isn't necessarily enough to avoid criminal action.

 

But the real answer is that we simply can't say. On the face of it, I'd say there's a fraud case to answer, and that's why I strongly suggest that she seeks professional legal advice.

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It might be OK, but there's no way we can say for sure. Bear in mind that there are two aspects to this: the overpayment, which is a civil matter, and the possibility that they consider that fraud might have been involved. That's a criminal matter. While offering to repay any overpayment certainly looks good, it doesn't necessarily mean there will be no fraud case.

 

That doesn't mean that they will prosecute either, because any criminal action brought must be "in the public interest". If she's expecting repayment to mean no prosecution, make sure that this is made explicitly clear by the investigators.

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She has called the DWP today and they are saying why are you agreeing to pay back if you feel that you have a case to argue? Also they would not/could not say if she will be prosecuted. Its so difficult how to proceed. Our solicitor seems useless.

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Make a reasonable offer of repayment, if they accept and she keeps to the agreement it is unlikely they will prosecute, as she is already in financial difficulty there would be no point in adding to it it would just be more difficult for them to get their money back, which after all is what they want.

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I have an overpayment which I argued lost and despite paying back for 12 months DWP still took me to Crown Court and I got 9 months imprisonment suspended - so repayments do not mean they will not take punative action

 

Yes, this is what I was trying to get at in post 12, but you put it better. Basically, while it may be a good thing to repay any overpayment, that's not in itself enough to stop further criminal action.

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Always appeal the overpayment if you feel you're not guilty of the cause of the overpayment - a win at appeal will mean no criminal conviction or an overturning can be sought of any conviction already made.

 

 

In this case I wouldn't rate your chances of success, but it is always worth trying where a prosecution might take place.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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