Is this a fraud offence?

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    I’m posting on here as I don’t have access to the ‘Fraud Investigations’ forum.

    The customer has a large HB overpayment. We sent her a budget sheet, so we could look at her income and expenditure to agree an affordable repayment rate.

    She has said on the budget sheet (which she has signed), that she is on JSA and basically has no money to repay. I checked CIS, and it says her JSA had stopped in April, and she is getting WTC. I phoned the council where she lives now. They say her HB stopped in April, as she started work earning just under £2k.

    In terms of the law, is she committing any type of offence here? If she is, what offence is it?

    Many thanks

    Kevin D

    The nearest that immediately springs to mind is, conceivably, the Fraud Act 2006 (sections 1 & 2). The LA would have to show she intended to “gain” from misrepresentations.

    Bottom line is, she still owes the same overpayment and she has been found to be untruthful about her ability to repay. In turn, I see nothing wrong with the LA pursuing a higher level of recovery in any case. A criminal prosecution simply muddies the waters and potentially complicates matters unnecessarily (in this particular case) – and will cost a lot of money for which there is no guarantee costs will be awarded against her. If they were to be awarded, that is a further debt the LA will then have to pursue on top of the existing debt which the claimant is already, by implication, being more than awkward about.

    Perhaps a more fruitful approach might be to suggest to the claimant if she doesn’t start making a sensible attempt to settle the debt, it will go to County Court and the LA will ask for an attachment from earnings from her current employment. I suspect the claimant wouldn’t be too happy at the prospect of her employer potentially becoming aware of the circumstances….

    NB: Hobby horse… Presumably, ULE and, if applicable, diminution, have been considered in relation to the overpayment?


    Thanks for your advice Kevin.

    I was having a look at the Fraud Act (in case you haven’t seen it, I found this website quite useful: )

    I agree with your wise words. Taking action over her possible false represention probably wouldn’t help us. However, when I phone her and ask her about this (which I am quite looking forward too), it will be useful to have something ‘in my locker’ when trying to get her to tell me her actual income.

    As you advised, I think the next step would be to apply for an AoE through the county court.

    Yes, we have looked at UE, etc. I know it is often missed, but I’ve worked for a few LAs, and you’ll be pleased to know the one I am with at the moment is pretty hot on UE.

    Thanks again,


    If you want to warn this person that he could be committing a criminal offence point to S112(1) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992

    112.—(1) If a person for the purpose of obtaining any benefit or other payment under the [relevant] [social security legislation] whether for himself or some other person, or [u:3686c83844][b:3686c83844]for any other purpose connected with that legislation–[/b:3686c83844][/u:3686c83844]( (my emphasis)
    a) makes a statement or representation which he knows to be false;…..

    he shall be guilty of an offence


    As an investigator, I agree with the above posters that it is extremely unlikely we would want to expend any resource in investigating this. However if you are solely after a list of offences that the claimant may have committed you could try adding false accounting under S17 Theft Act 1968 to the list.

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