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sabine123

Child benefit fraud?

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Hi all,

 

In desperate need of advice, please.

 

After a nasty breakdown of marriage and ultimately divorce, I left the UK to return home (South Africa) in 2012.

My ex put in the claim for child benefit when our daughter was born, but the payments are put into my bank account.

 

I realised the payments were never stopped, I thought he would've done it but he hadn't and now I'm absolutely terrified - I don't know what to do or what to tell HRMC. It's been 4 years!

That bank account has not been used since I left (although I didn't close the account), so the money they've deposited over the years is still there.

 

Will I be fined? Prosecuted? Help!

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I can't imagine at all that you will be prosecuted for this.

 

I think that it is important that you contact them immediately and also give them back all the money.

 

Make sure that you get a full set of bank statements for the account which show that the account has not been used.

 

I suppose that they will be a bit suspicious to begin with because it is probably relatively unusual that money is left unused and that there is an offer to return it. However, I think that if you take all steps to contact them and to inform them exactly as to what has happened, they will soon start to understand that you are trying to be very level with them.

 

However, you should make sure that everything is in writing and that all telephone calls are recorded. Frankly if you have to go for any interviews then I would carry a recorder and make sure everything is recorded for your own protection.

 

Someone with more specialist experience of this may come and give you a better answer


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Hello there.

 

I agree with BF about what to do. From my experience of this forum, people are rarely prosecuted, unless it's for fraud by creating multiple 'children' for example.

 

Most people find that when they ring and try to set things straight, it's well received. Once you've repaid what you owe, I doubt if anything else will happen.

 

Please pluck up the courage to ring them and let us know how you get on. :)

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you so much for your responses!!

 

Does this sound ok to send?

 

To whom it may concern,

 

I am in need of urgent advice please.

I left London at the end of October 2012 with my daughter to stay in South Africa for a short while.

During this time, I was going through a very difficult divorce with my daughter’s father, and consequently ended up staying in South Africa permanently.

 

I had believed that my ex had notified the relevant parties because the claim is in his name, but it has now come to light that he had not. The money has been deposited into an active but unused bank account.

To this end, I need to cancel the child benefit payments with immediate effect and also repay the amount that was overpayed.

 

I am very sorry for this oversight. Please advise what I need to do next.

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I think it's all right. However I don't like the fact that it has to be addressed to "to whom it may concern".

 

I think it needs to be addressed more specifically – and I have no idea how to advise you on this.

 

I think it might be a good idea on this occasion if you went to Citizens Advice. Explain what has happened to them and they will probably have the necessary contacts. Maybe they will write a letter on your behalf and in that way it will be more official. However, if they do, then make sure that you get a copy of it. Also, find out the name of the addressee and send your own copy to that person as.

 

I simply don't feel quite comfortable about sending a rather open-ended letter like this to an open-ended addressee on the matter as important as this.

 

Whatever you send, make sure that you keep copies and also records of postage.


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If the money is still all there & you have not had the statements, then I very much doubt that they will do anything other than recover the money.


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

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Yes, i'm still in south africa. why?

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I agree with shoelover - if you haven't spent the money, ergo, you didn't know you had received it, then that is excellent mitigation.

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