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Severely disabled and fraud case


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I'm in a bit of a worrying situation due to a possible pending court summons and eventual imprisonment. This is just an outline:

 

I am a severely disabled middle aged man with a wife and young child. My disability is Spinal Muscular Atrophy meaning I'm unable to do all things myself and require a lot of care including help moving in bed to relieve bed sores and aches, moving and handling in and out of bed, help with washing, toileting, dressing and feeding. Because of my curved spine I need a lot of support to sit and lay down while apparatus such as hoists and chairs with help with moving. Currently all this is provided to me by my wife.

 

Over the past 6/7 years the some of the care was bought in via private carers - paid by myself with funding from the local authority. The care bought was varied depending on my wife and how much around she was. When she was away I would require more care during the day and overnight.

 

I failed to keep proper order of my bank account. It was my responsibility to do all the wage slips and payments. Because of my condition and the kind of help I had - it varied. But I had to send the local authority bank statements and wage slip copies each month. Over the 6/7 years I only sent the paperwork to them when I was reminded by them to send. The local authority reminded me 3 times over the 6/7 year period. Because of the care I required, I paid a lot of my carers cash in hand therefore there was no paper record. I was and am housebound and find it difficult to use or do anything.

 

During this time a 'friend' started visiting me at my home and got me putting bets on through him. He would tell me this and this and go and put it on for me as I could not leave the house. I won a few times, he said, and lost a lot of times. Then a few months later, he drops a bombshell on me. He says to me that I owe him over £60,000. Bets he has put on behalf of me. I for one second did not believe this. But I was alone during this time. And a few times more. My wife would leave with our child and not return for months on end. I needed a lot of care and felt alone. My other carer would only come for an hour or so each day. I needed someone overnight and felt if I said something then I would be left without anyone during the night. You see without this person I couldn't even charge a mobile phone to call my child. That's how desperate and vulnerable I was on him.

 

Well he said that he would put down more hours for himself on the wage slips to cover this money. And that it would repay itself and I don't need to worry. So he continued dealing with my emails and bank stuff. When wife was around he would pop around less but still keep the same hours.

 

Then last year I received a letter for the council wanting me to pay them over £3000 of money that had been accumulated in my account. Money that I had not used. I got confused and worried. I got someone else to check my accounts and my emails and found out that the account was virtually empty. So how come they said I had £3000 plus built up. I got in touch with my account myself and another person helped me check my sent emails. I found out that on 3 separate occasions this carer had send different wage slips and bank statements to the council showing different amount to the ones paid or in my account. I asked this person but he disappeared. I also moved out of the area as I was offered another house. I immediately cancelled my care and said I didn't require it. I begged my wife to care for me totally as I had a huge problem with carers. I didn't know what to do.

 

I got worried that I would get done for fraud. Nothing happened until February of this year when I got a letter from council saying I needed to come in for fraud regarding my direct payments. I contacted a solicitor who I explained everything to. He told me not to proceed with the interview at the council. Nothing happened again until last week when i received a letter saying that I had misappropriated my direct payments and have to pay back £39,000. They said I had only used £52,000 for care over the past 6/7 years and the rest I had to pay back.

 

I am now worried what might happen. I have been worried since last year and it is making me sick. The pressure on my wife doing all the care is affecting our relationship too. My solicitor says it almost certain that I will go to a crown court and could be imprisoned for 12-18 months as it is fraud on secondary scale with forged bank statements and wage slips and amount.

 

I have been searching on-line about severely disabled people like me in prison and can not find and examples. I am worried sick on what to do. Do I go to the police and tell them about this carer - but if I do then I'm worried what he will do to me and my family. Do I borrow money from some loan company and pay the council the whole amount and will that save me from prison. I can't even sit in my wheelchair for long periods - how am I going to go to court. And I require care and a lot of specialised equipment - will the prison have ceiling hoists and shower chairs. Will they have someone to help me wash and dress.

 

My solicitor isn't experienced in care fraud. He is much more in the benefit fraud area which he is saying this comes down to. I asked him to speak with the council and explain my situation but he is telling me to keep quite until all the evidence is seen before court.

 

I want to know if there are prison rooms for severely disabled people like me and will I be able to get care how and when I need it. I hope someone can help.

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It really looks like you have been subject to financial abuse by one or more of your carers, this is wrong and shameful.

 

 

May I now take this moment to offer you some advice. First of all you really should keep better records than you currently do, paying people in cash will always open up a can of worms as far as the LA is concerned. I would suggest the following to stop this sort of offence..

 

 

1. Ask all of your carers to provide you with their bank details, this will always allow you to transfer payments via the BACS method, this way you can always produce a perfectly sound accounting method to the LA.

 

 

2. If any of your carers are taking money off of your they commit an offence that can be looked into by the LA/Police.

 

 

3. You can always ask your LA to provide a financial assessment and help to manage the funds you are responsible for.

 

 

4. Call or speak to your bank and make sure that you have new security in place for this account and have it monitored by them.

 

 

5. Always keep you account secure and do not let any of your carers access to it for any reason.

 

 

6. As far as your carer stating you owe them £60k. Is out of order..

 

 

This money from the LA is STRICTLY for the purpose of providing your care package.

 

 

The reason for the difference in what the LA thinks is still in your account is when you have failed to remit your accounts for verifying what has been spent...

 

 

7. I would now approach the LA and give them this information you have posted on this thread and they will/should then take control of the account and report the person taking this money and if necessary involve the Police on your behalf.

 

 

I too have known disabled people being fleeced by carers and this is so wrong at every level.... Please seek help on this matter and do so with urgency.... Speak to the LA tomorrow as soon as you can and ask for a manager to visit you at home, To be honest they have a duty of care to protect you please remind them of this, it also includes protecting you from financial abuse.

 

 

Please see my attachments it will help you I hope.... there will be four for you to read please do so asap....

 

 

Finally have a read from here http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/pages/vulnerable-people-abuse-safeguarding.aspx

 

 

Then here http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/practice-notes/financial-abuse/

Edited by mikeymack2002
added a link for the OP

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I was going to respond to say that you should involve the local council authority in dealing with the carer who has abused the system, but should get legal advice on this as well. I don't think you have much choice in this, as the truth always has a way of catching up with people eventually.

 

Follow the excellent advice by mikeymack above if you have provided an accurate account of what has happened to you. If the Solicitor you spoke to is aware of ALL information and they have given different advice, then it may be wise to follow the Solicitors legal advice.

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Thanks for the comments UB I have also added a further 2 PDF's that are a must for any person in this position and being abused should read up on...

 

 

For other readers it may pay you to read up on this as well as it is very relevant in this situation see below for the link

 

 

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/fraud_by_abuse_of_position/

 

 

The above is covered under s4 of the fraud act http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/4

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Personally I have never heard of a severely disable person with 24 hours care to be imprisoned.

I might be wrong, but I don't think that prisons are equipped to deal with your case.

Anyway, no judge with a bit of sense would impose a prison sentence in your circumstances.

This is just to reassure you as I have a feeling that this case if handled correctly won't end up in court.

Most likely, as others said, if you approach the council and tell them what you wrote here, they will have to come to a compromise and help you.

Good luck.

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Was your solicitor aware of the circumstances when he told you not to engage with the LA? If so this was very bad advice.

 

Yes some of it is financial abuse, but some is also probably cash in hand payments. The LA being aware of all of this could possibly prevent any prosecution. The person who subjected you to financial abuse needs to be reported to the police. The whole story needs to be told to the LA.

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

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It sounds as if you have been a victim of financial abuse. Is your solicitor a "local" one or one of the "benefit fraud specialists" which advertise on the Internet? His advice strikes me as poor...

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

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It sounds as if you have been a victim of financial abuse. Is your solicitor a "local" one or one of the "benefit fraud specialists" which advertise on the Internet? His advice strikes me as poor...

 

Experience of internet forum posts is that sometimes we do not have all accurate facts. We don't know what information the Solicitors advice was based on. Perhaps they have experience of dealing with these cases, where a carer has taken advantage, justice does not catch up with them and the disabled person is the one taken to court. There may not be evidence available which is reliable to lead to charges against the carer. It could be one persons word against another.

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Experience of internet forum posts is that sometimes we do not have all accurate facts. We don't know what information the Solicitors advice was based on. Perhaps they have experience of dealing with these cases, where a carer has taken advantage, justice does not catch up with them and the disabled person is the one taken to court. There may not be evidence available which is reliable to lead to charges against the carer. It could be one persons word against another.

 

Hence my use of the words "it sounds as if".

 

Another question to the o/p, have you been invited to attend an interview under caution or just a meeting?

 

As UB says, full facts needed to give advice properly.

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

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Sorry for late post.

 

My solicitor advised me not to go ahead with interview with caution as it usually never helps the accused.

 

To be honest with you my solicitor does not have any knowledge whatsoever ever about disabled people and care system. But he was the only local one I could find that had access for wheelchairs and did legal aid work. I was very limited.

 

I have an option of going to the police but I am being told that it will then become a police case and my house could be searched and I should wait until I am summoned by local authority.

 

I met my solicitor today and he said that it will definitely go to court and this will be classed as sophisticated fraud. So it is not your normal run of the mill failed to inform case. And that will carry a hefty sentence. And even if it costs them huge amounts to imprison me I will be sentenced if the case warrants it.

 

I will start repaying the money even though I never took it because solicitor says it will look good to judge. He says I can request a hearing where I can admit to some of the fraud and not all. He says the cash in hand payments I made I can't argue as that is not allowed.

 

Oh and he said that if they do imprison me then they will arrange care are equipment.

 

So I'm stumped. I feel if I had a better solicitor I could explain to LA and they might be sympathetic. But I'm limited in that side because of my disability and my finances.

 

Can I not call the LA myself and explain to them what has happened. My solicitor says not a good idea until I get to see full evidence.

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I think you need to think about changing solicitor... A decent solicitor could do a telephone consultation. it's possible that once the whole story is known that the council will not prosecute.

 

Who made & supplied the false documents to the council? Why would the police search your house if you are making the allegation?

 

Lastly, if he is working as a carer now he could do the same again so he needs to be brought to book

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

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The false documents were sent through my email but I didn't send them as he was in charge of it alongside all of my other stuff - especially when my wife was away.

 

I can't find a solicitor but am searching for one.

 

Because they will also think it is me. And the person who did this is not around now. I'm also worried about what he will do if he finds out I grassed him up.

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You need a decent solicitor... You really do.

 

if you contact Your local CAB they will probably be able to help you find someone who can help you. Don't delay- get in touch today,

 

Good luck x

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

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Yes, this solicitor sounds pretty useless.

 

The way I would handle this (on thinking some more) is to try and appeal the overpayment decision on several grounds:

 

Firstly to get all of your records together. Make a starting point of how many hours care you received. Does the care received tally with the hours the LA say you have paid for? If the care hours used were greater than the LA calculation, then this should give an idea of how many hours you paid cash in hand. Are there workers who will write a short statement that they received cash in hand payments? This would help in showing that this was where some of the money went.

 

Secondly, on the basis that you suffered financial abuse. I don't understand why your solicitor says your house would be searched as a victim reporting a crime - can you give us any ideas? as far as I can tell this needs to be reported to the police - the likelihood is this guy is doing this to someone else like you.

 

The reality is that you need a welfare rights adviser to assist you with putting together and arguing an appeal - do you know if there are any welfare rights orgs in your area, or whether a cab rep would be prepared to take the case?

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

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You have nothing to worry about if what you have said is true. It will assist your LA issue to report this person to the Police. By doing so you can get a crime reference number to give to the LA they then have a duty to investigate as well. This will or could be the best move if what you have stated is true...

 

I say this to you with caution. If you have not been abused financially you must not make the complaint. If for some silly reason like gambling some of the money away, (you stated you gamble) you have lost more than you could repay, then you will be committing a serious fraud by doing so...

 

Even though I have advised on this thread before I want to make sure that you have not been gambling with ANY of the care fund at all!!

 

Please don't get me wrong with my above question it will be asked by both the Police and the LA at some point ok ...

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You have nothing to worry about if what you have said is true. It will assist your LA issue to report this person to the Police. By doing so you can get a crime reference number to give to the LA they then have a duty to investigate as well. This will or could be the best move if what you have stated is true...

 

I say this to you with caution. If you have not been abused financially you must not make the complaint. If for some silly reason like gambling some of the money away, (you stated you gamble) you have lost more than you could repay, then you will be committing a serious fraud by doing so...

 

Even though I have advised on this thread before I want to make sure that you have not been gambling with ANY of the care fund at all!!

 

Please don't get me wrong with my above question it will be asked by both the Police and the LA at some point ok ...

 

This is very pertinent to ask. Unfortunately there are cases reported in the press regularly where the person reporting the crime in this situation, is the one that ends up being treated more harshly by the system. The carer who has taken advantage to obtain money may be the type who can convincingly lie and not get caught for any of the things they have alleged to have done.

 

I agree that another Solicitors opinion should be obtained, after providing them with ALL facts. But if the opinion is the same, to see what the local authority and prosecution can evidence, then that advice should be followed. Sometimes honesty is not the best policy, unless you have legal advice this is the best option. You would think a local authority and Police would take into account the honesty shown and be helpful, but unless the carer admits to being responsible for what has happened, then you might just come a cropper.

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As a further safe guard please use the password screensaver that most O/S have and don't let your carers access to your PC, this is strictly off limits to them unless you are standing behind them, even then you really should not allow access to your PC it is far too dangerous for you TBH...

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I'm looking into getting another solicitor but no solicitor wants to help until I get a summons. But I will try and find CAB locally and see what they say.

 

Someone from Scope contacted me and said they are worried about my situation and want to help. They've advised that it might be best to remove threads discussing this if court action is pending. So please tell if that might be best and if so who do I speak to so I can remove this thread. If anyone wants to discuss the problem with me then they can message me if the thread is removed.

 

I've decided to start paying the money back a little each week whatever I can afford.

 

I don't feel I have a gambling company because I don't gamble. I haven't placed a bet for over 2 years and that was through my 'carer'. So I am not gambling.

 

I would report it to the police but I am scared for my family. I've finally got away from him and he doesn't know where I live now or else he would come here.

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Have flagged with site team about thread removal

We could do with some help from you.

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@post #18 is exactly why you should report this matter, you have no idea why I can say this but suffice to say as a service user I would not hesitate to do this ok...

 

 

As far as removal of a thread it is site policy not to remove them unless there is a legal requirement to do so, this is contained in the sites policy which should be read before making any posts on CAG...

 

 

I did not intent to insinuate you have a gambling issue but if you take everything in to account any investigating officer would ask you this any way, sorry for that...

 

 

If you want to answer this question that is up to you, why does your former carer say you owe them 60k?

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how about reporting this to actionfraud website???

 

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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how about reporting this to actionfraud website???

 

 

dx

 

Thought that Action Fraud was not really functioning properly according to reports and would probably not do anything.

 

The OP mentions Scope have been in contact and perhaps they can offer assistance. Most such charities have contacts with Solicitors that help them with disability issues. Perhaps they can ask a favour and seek some help.

We could do with some help from you.

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This is very pertinent to ask. Unfortunately there are cases reported in the press regularly where the person reporting the crime in this situation, is the one that ends up being treated more harshly by the system. The carer who has taken advantage to obtain money may be the type who can convincingly lie and not get caught for any of the things they have alleged to have done.

 

I agree that another Solicitors opinion should be obtained, after providing them with ALL facts. But if the opinion is the same, to see what the local authority and prosecution can evidence, then that advice should be followed. Sometimes honesty is not the best policy, unless you have legal advice this is the best option. You would think a local authority and Police would take into account the honesty shown and be helpful, but unless the carer admits to being responsible for what has happened, then you might just come a cropper.

 

 

I couldn't disagree more with this UB. It's because everything has been kept hidden that the OP finds himself in this position, and that is exactly what the dishonest carer relied on.

 

 

The OP seems to be extremely vulnerable, and I can't help feeling that he needs to report the carer to the police and engage with the LA. He really needs some kind of support and I hope that Scope can provide this, and if not I'd suggest gets Social Services involved to help him manage things better.

 

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