The DWP and Local Authorities are now joining their fraud investigations teams across the country to increase the level of benefit fraud investigations. They have new data matching systems linked to HMRC and other government bodies to obtain evidence.
The main areas where benefit fraud offences can occur are if a claimant is working and claiming; or if they are claiming and receive a large lump sum of capital or inheritance; or they have a partner or ex spouse staying at their property for a significant period as well as failing to declare a change of circumstances. The DWP now investigate Housing Benefit; Council Tax Reduction claims and also Pension Benefits.
It is imperative that legal representation is obtained if a client receives a letter inviting them in to attend their Jobcente for an interview under caution. The lawyer can change the date and time of the interview in order for the file to be opened. The lawyer also can get details of the alleged evidence prior to the interview starting and inform the client.
The interview is CD recorded under caution and conducted often by two highly trained fraud investigators under the same regulations and (PACE) codes of practice as a police station interview. Legal representation is paramount due to clients having the same rights or more at a Jobcentre Fraud Interview. The DWP can pass the case to the CPS and if a conviction is obtained can try a case under the Fraud Act which carries a maximum custodial sentence of 10 years.
Duncan Lewis Solicitors have an experienced team of Solicitors, Duty Solicitors and Solicitor Advocates, that can represent clients at Magistrates and Crown Court hearings. Legal Aid and private representation is available.
To speak to one of our experienced lawyers please call on 0207 923 4020 or visit us at: www.duncanlewis.com. We look forward to hearing from you