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Friend been caught defrauding tax credits

(112 Posts)
Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 16:10:18

Friend just called me in a right state. Has been sick etc. had a letter from hmrc this morning saying they have found out through credit files that she is not a single parent and has been claiming as one.

She has a month to call them and explain herself.

As far as I know it has gone on for a few years.

My sympathy is very limited but I know how skintight they are and that she has used the money to live not for luxuries.

Just wondering if anyone can give me some idea of what may happen to her.

As far as I can make out we are talking thousands

Sighingagain Fri 27-Jul-12 18:34:12

(just to add she wanted us to say dc had been with her all along which potentially could have meant a prosecution for me but much lower repayments as we weren't getting a lot - strangely I refused to go along with that).

lisaro Fri 27-Jul-12 18:39:05

That length of time and amount of money is intent to defraud. A custodial sentence is a good possibility. And rightly so. She's a thief. Zero sympathy here, I'm afraid.

Adviceinscotland Fri 27-Jul-12 18:47:13

Llsaro, I have not come across any tax credit cases that ended in prison, even the one that did end in prosecution the woman just got a suspended sentence.

I don't think it's right at all but I was very surprised.

lisaro Fri 27-Jul-12 19:17:40

I have and I am now, and previously been in a position to know- it does, albeit rarely happen, and the fact it was over such a long time makes this very serious. She will almost definitely go to court and these cases are always reported in the papers.
And as someone upthread said - if he's forces it WILL have a negative impact on his career, even if he denies knowledge (though how could you not notice that amount of money?).

Adviceinscotland Fri 27-Jul-12 19:21:06

Can you tell me a bit more about the cases you know off llsaro?

Was it tax credits/over how long/how much money involved/punishments?

lisaro Fri 27-Jul-12 19:23:58

God no - I can't remember all that, sorry. But when I worked for HMRC there were new reports every day on the internal computer system of successful fraud prosecutions, mostly tax credits. I now have returned to my original career and have seen evidence of it.

emmieging Fri 27-Jul-12 19:36:20

If the only consequence were having to repay the money fraudulently claimed, then frankly, it would be very little deterrent wouldn't it? I mean, if someone stole £1000 off you, would you be happy if their 'punishment' was just to give the money back (ie what's YOURS anyway?!)

I would be very surprised if the only consequence is that she has to repay. This is going to affect her work life without a doubt, and I would hope a hefty fine at the very least, with possibly a suspended or custodial sentence might be relevant depending on the details of the case.

I know it must be hard to see someone you care about in this situation but like most others on here, it's hard to be sympathetic. It's theft and it's also sticking two fingers up at all the millions of law abiding hard working people (who no doubt often have their own personal crises/ illnesses etc going on at home)

OP- you need to get some perspective on this. It's a shitty thing this woman did, it's theft and it's not helpful to try and dress it up as anything else.

Sighingagain Fri 27-Jul-12 19:48:54

lisaro - DHs ex did it against his express will, he still paid bills, mortgage, etc. For him he did know but he was in the position of reporting his own wife for benefit fraud, and he didnt think he could/should because of DCs, its a part of his life he prefers to forget (along with lots of other things about that time).

This was in the days of CSA chasing ex partners of benefit claimants, so he was constantly worried they would be turning up to chase him for money for children he was living with as well. That would have been interesting wouldnt it.

I never understood how she got away with it, he was on the electoral role, all his tax /work documents were at the address, he was paying the council tax.

I assume (hope) things are more rigorously checked these days,

Sighingagain Fri 27-Jul-12 19:50:24

Sorry, thats to say the friends DH may not have been in a postion to act on what he knew.

lisaro Fri 27-Jul-12 19:51:24

Sorry Sighing but that's wrong. He was colplicit in it ant must have benefited from the money. He should have been prosecuted as well.

Sighingagain Fri 27-Jul-12 20:02:38

He never saw a penny of it, and Id love to know how many people would report their own spouse, he was always quite clear he didn't want anything to do with it, hence his trail was very clear, including that the money wasn't being spent on day to day household expenditure, he didn't initially know what was going on, but it became clear that a lot more money was being spent than should have, which is when he twigged.

Yes I agree it was very wrong, I'm not so sure he could have done much more except risk sending the mother of his children to prison.

The state of their marriage belongs elsewhere, but from my point of view, as far as I am concerned he was a victim of domestic abuse, obviously there is far more to it than I have posted, including numerous begging calls to his mother resulting in the handing over of thousands and thousands of pounds, based on fictitious scenarios that he knew nothing about and which his mother disclosed while they were divorcing and he asked for a financial statement of how much they owed her (DH and his mum had become estranged for a time, which resolved on separation).

As I already posted, ex claimed for a child who didnt live with her, it didnt stop when he left.

Anyway thats all by the by to a degree, the person who gets prosecuted is the person who financially gets the money into their account as far as I am aware.

Sighingagain Fri 27-Jul-12 20:05:01

Lisaro believe me, honestly, he really didnt see a penny of it, when we got together, first thing I had to do was buy him clothes, he had nothing, he had about 2 pairs of jeans, a few t shirts and a falling apart jacket, and his work uniform.

He literally had the clothes on his back when he left.

lisaro Fri 27-Jul-12 20:17:35

Fair point about the abuse, Sighing.

Sighingagain Fri 27-Jul-12 20:24:25

All very sad - but then I didn't have the best first marriage - upside is it makes for a great marriage between us, as we both really and truly appreciate each other and are mindful of each others feelings.

Wowserz129 Thu 02-Aug-12 22:47:10

How is she getting on OP? okay i hope

Adviceinscotland Tue 14-Aug-12 13:23:28

I feel a bit used now actually.

She has to pay back one years money (from April 2011 till now) so now the panic is over for her not having to pay 3 years back she has become quite smug about it all and a feel like a bit of a twat for being so worried and standing by her.

She is waiting to find out what the repayment plan will be but I'm taking a huge step back now.

ValiumQueen Tue 14-Aug-12 13:29:58

I think you are wise. I am surprised they have been so lenient, after all that is our money she has claimed fraudulently. I think you have seen her true colours. Well done for being such a lovely friend, but she is not deserving of you. Do not feel like a twat. You did nothing wrong smile

MooMa42o Tue 14-Aug-12 13:32:57

For that amount of money i expect it will be a well deserved custodial sentence, it would take far too long to get the money back through repayments, it's the time factor & the amount of money that has been stolen! It is blatantly fraud rather than an oversight!

MooMa42o Tue 14-Aug-12 13:34:38

Sorry i only just saw the rest, wow she got away with it! i am really surprised & saddened that nothing will be done!

Adviceinscotland Tue 14-Aug-12 14:06:29

Mooma, I thought the same to start with but after spending hours searching loads of forums (yes I am to soft) i found that when it's tax credits they very very rarely prosecute even for sums of 15-20k.

Have seen stories of people paying back £100 a month over ten years!!

Dwp on the other hand (income support, housing benefit etc) seem to prosecute for anything over 2k.

The more I looked into it the more I searched for more cases thinking it could not be right but like I said further down the thread I only came across one tax credits case that had ended in prosecution.

Make the wonder this country is in such a state.

I would never advise anyone to try it out though, sounded like I am saying it's a fair gambleblush but what deterrent is there for people not to do it if they are that way inclined?

MooMa42o Tue 14-Aug-12 14:14:58

It's not what you are saying but it is most certainly what the Tax Credits people are saying, i am truly shocked, as a work colleague defrauded HMRC & got sent to prison for a year, i guess they have decided there are different levels of fraud!

ValiumQueen Tue 14-Aug-12 14:20:26

I think the way they run the Tax Credit system is flawed and does invite abuse. As far as I can tell they rarely check up on claims, and when they do someone would have had at least 15months worth of money. It is based on guesstimates of earnings and childcare costs, and no proof of either is required at the point of claiming. This also results in a lot of anxieties for families claiming legitimately, as they do not know when or if any monies will be demanded back. I for one am waiting to hear about a review, and I do not know if I will get a lump sum or a big bill.

Adviceinscotland Tue 14-Aug-12 14:23:14

Was that tax credits mooma?

RedHelenB Tue 14-Aug-12 14:29:59

I take it she didn't admit it had been going on for years though?

Adviceinscotland Tue 14-Aug-12 14:52:45

She did tell them he had moved back in for good august 2010 but they said they were only investigating the year starting April 2011 hmm

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