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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

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 16:10:51

Skint not skintight!

Olympia2012 Sat 21-Jul-12 16:19:04

She will be made to pay it back! Maybe go to court. Silly winan! And she will be the one in trouble, not the 'partner'!

What's he got to say about all this? Or has he done a runner now?

Olympia2012 Sat 21-Jul-12 16:19:22

*woman!

She could go to court, she'll have to pay it back but it'll likely be a tiny amount a week.
I don't have personal experience btw, but this happened to an acquaintance.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 16:24:07

She has not told him and says he will leave her if he finds out.

In her defence (the only thing in her defence) is that he had a potentionally fatal illness just after she started this. They did split for a few weeks then get back together and she carried it on and said she was going to start claiming as a couple at the end of the tax year but he got ill and she did not want to make things worse by losing the money hmm

I think it must be about three years actually.

She is threatening suicide if it makes it into the daily mail!!

She has been a prize twat. I'm just wondering if I should get her to speak to citizens advice before calling them or if it's better for her to just phone and admit it all?

TheMonster Sat 21-Jul-12 16:24:45

She's been foolish and will probably have to pay it back. A custodial sentence is a possibility as it has been going on for so long and is therefore a lot of money. She must have known this day would come when she started the theft.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 16:25:18

Netto, how much did your friend owe?

I think she must be about £25,000 going by how much she says she has been getting a month

Olympia2012 Sat 21-Jul-12 16:25:36

Does he work ? He should help pay it back

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 16:30:04

He works full time but she says he knows nothing about it which I can believe as she controls all the money. The money has been paid into a account in just her name so he has not seen the bank statements.

She is more worried about him finding out than anything else I think.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 16:32:00

She has just sent me a really weird text.

I hope she does not do anything stupid, there is 3 young kids involved in all this. Going to go round and see her for a bit and see if I can calm her down.

Any advice welcome, will check back later

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 16:33:26

Not sure the best way to approach her though?

Yes you are in a heap of shit so deal with it attitude OR yes you have been a twat now let's get it sorted?

Olympia2012 Sat 21-Jul-12 16:35:09

Offer to go to CAB with her
Offer to help re budget

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 16:36:47

Ironically she has just got herself a job for when the schools go back in sept.

Right I'm away now.

£4000, it was Housing Benefit.
Could I just say though, it was an acquaintance. My friends and I are honest!

TheMonster Sat 21-Jul-12 16:46:33

Well she may well not have a job now that she will have this on her record.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 17:47:10

I am actually worried about her now.

Her new job is going to be self-employment which obviously won't happen if she has a record. Her dh is also due to leave the country for 7 months soon, what if she did go to prison? Would her dc go into care?

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 17:48:12

She was physically sick while I was there. Am actually concerned for her.

Dprince Sat 21-Jul-12 17:51:42

I don't mean to be rude, but what did she expect. She has been stealing benefits.
I would advise her to be honest.

msrantsalot Sat 21-Jul-12 17:53:53

had a small amount to pay back because I didnt call them and tell them the days the afterschool shut due to not enough people, they had to have a maximum of 8 and some days there were not enough. I had to pay back about £300 and they just cut my tax credits I was due until they had recouped the money. By £25k I reckon that's actual fraud but if they have a way of recouping the money they will do that, either by them paying it or by taking away any benefits they have left. I have no idea if she will actually get charged.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 17:54:01

I think the same, like I said in op I have very limited sympathy.

It's not nice seeing someone so upset though. It's how this will effect the dc that is concerning me.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 17:58:20

The 25k is the figure I came up with, she says she has been getting about £800 a month for about 34 months then £1000 the last two months (WOW) the first 14 months they were not together but his bank etc was still registered and that house so no way of proving it now itswim. I have no idea of how much they would have been entitled to had they been together so really I just made the 25k up blush

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 18:02:11

It's 4 weekly you get paid tc though I'm sure not monthly so it might be even more

Olympicnmix Sat 21-Jul-12 18:04:21

That's a lot. I'm also surprised they didn't find out earlier.

My CTC/WTC has just been stopped as apparently exH and I are still living as if married! It's because he's still on the mortgage and still named as parent on the nursery documentation (well he still is, but they need to make it clearer) although everything else is in my name. They did the same last year and I sent them my solicitor's letters showing we were getting divorced and his rental agreement. Now they've done it again, but apparently this is a different department who doesn't talk to the other department.

FushiaFernica Sat 21-Jul-12 18:13:09

Her best course of action is for her to contact HMRC asap and confess everything. They will be able to check anyway. I do feel sorry for your friend, what a mess, do what you can to support her.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 18:16:25

Do you not think it will go againsed her even more though if she says that it was "planned"

It may sound smug.

I'm not wanting her to lie, there is no way she could anyway I just wonder if it might be better speaking to citizens advice first before doing anything?

Citizens Advice or a solicitor. She really needs legal representation but I'm not sure what financial support she'd be entitled to with that if they do have a wage.

DaisySteiner Sat 21-Jul-12 18:26:24

With tax credits I'm afraid it's not just a matter of paying it back but they will possibly also impose a penalty which can be up to £3000. Have a look at this page From the information on there I think that it's unlikely that they will prosecute, although obviously it's possible. I think she should possibly take advice from the CAB or possibly a solicitor about the best way of confessing and possibly claiming mitigating circumstances due to her partner's illness.

I was overpaid tax credits by a massive amount (not fraudulent - they cocked up, I kept telling them, they kept ignoring me). Eventually they stopped after they made a one off payment for thirteen grand(!!!) into my account and I rang them and begged them to stop paying, this came after I'd sent letters and made repeated phone calls and had spoken almost weekly to them for three months. Initially they stopped my tax credits and took that money as repayments. Then we were no longer eligible to receive them so they sent me a demand for the whole lot. I rang them and said it was too much for me to pay at once so I now pay a monthly amount.

I think legal representation/advice would be wise if it goes to court as would budgeting how much she can afford to pay each month and then offering that (when I rang they basically asked me how much I could afford). As her circumstances sound complicated, and tax credits really are a shambles (in our case the overpayment occurred because they randomly dropped a zero off dh's salary one renewal) she may be able to claim an oversight especially if she shows immediately willing to pay back.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 18:43:34

I'm glad it looks like it will just be her in trouble and not the dh who as far as I know is innocent.

Honestly she may well not be in trouble. If she rings and says she's sorry but her partners illness meant she completely forgot to notify them of change in circumstances, how can she pay them back, she may find they just get stopped for repayment.

Ok it's not great but it's better than court.

The trouble with tax credits is finding someone sensible to talk to. In my case the weeks and weeks I phoned I was told x,y and z had to happen for payments to stop. When I eventually rang and said 'you have just paid thirteen grand into my account, it is not my money, I do not want it, please please stop these payments I beg you i have phoned repeatedly, i have sent recorded letters' the woman on the other end said 'oh whoops yes I can see that, will stop that right away and your tax credits will be stopped for repayments'. Well why couldn't the ten people I spoke to in the preceding weeks do that?

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 19:00:56

If it's been going on about three years she must have renewed at least twice with false information.

Jemma1111 Sat 21-Jul-12 19:03:51

I can't see how your friend will get off lightly as they will take into account the fact that she may have possibly carried on for many more years falsely claiming had she not been found out .

EdithWeston Sat 21-Jul-12 19:22:14

As they have found her out (rather than her noticing a mistake and coming clean pre-emptively) and as she must have made false statements on two renewals, I'm afraid it doesn't look good. Had it just been the first year, she might have faced only civil recovery, but the false declarations make criminal proceedings a real possibility.

Her best (only?) course of action now is to come clean to the authorities, but she should seek legal advice too.

I think she will also have to consider biting the bullet and telling her partner. He is likely to notice (from her stress levels, as well as arrival of further paperwork and possibility of hearings) and she needs to think hard now whether she can really cover up effectively (I doubt it) and whether his reaction will be worse if he catches her out in a persistent lie.

I am sorry to lay it out so starkly, but hands up and take the penalties may prove better in the long run than an attempt to cover up.

Adviceinscotland Sat 21-Jul-12 19:41:31

I have just read the letter they sent her, am surprised at how civil it is considering what they have accused her off.

It says though that it is only for the 2011/2012 claim but I suppose once they looked into it more they would see he was living there before

Also

It says if she does not get in touch they will stop her tax credits but it does not say that they would pursue it any further after that. I'm clutching at straws here for her though aren't I?

Oh yes, if she's actually written down and checked as correct false information that doesn't sound so good.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 23-Jul-12 09:06:59

I think the best advice you can give your friend is to be honest (for a change), 100% open with information and cooperative. CAB or a solicitor may have other ideas but I'm pretty sure HMRC have heard every sob story in the book. If she tries to deny anything, plead ignorance (which is no defence), or wriggle out in some other way then it's likely to make things worse and they may prosecute for fraud. She's certainly going to have to pay the money back.

RedHelenB Mon 23-Jul-12 09:45:02

With three children & a partner away then she really won't need to worry about prison. BUT, if they do look back further then she will be in trouble so I think other advice is spot on - get it sorted & a plan put in place to pay it back.

Jemma1111 Tue 24-Jul-12 16:27:39

Hows your friend op , has she told her H yet ?

Adviceinscotland Tue 24-Jul-12 18:01:26

No she has no plans to tell him!

Am going to cab with her tomorrow.

Her dh thinks she has had a sickness bug the last few days and that's why she has been so ill.

Not really sure what to expect when we go to cab? It's a drop in session as all the appointments were taken.

SilkySmith Tue 24-Jul-12 18:04:28

this happens fairly frequently on my local NM boards hmm
they usually have to pay an affordable amt back each month

Adviceinscotland Tue 24-Jul-12 18:09:47

Is that people making a mistake in the forms though slinky or people lying on purpose?

I don't for a minute condone what she has done but it's not nice seeing someone I like in other ways constantly dry retching as she has only had a slice of toast a day since Saturday.

SilkySmith Tue 24-Jul-12 18:13:07

nah it's people claiming to be single when they're not

I find tax credits very reasonable if you are open and honest with them, they'll try to work with you if you volunteer as much info as you can. IMO if she says that she is eager to pay it back then they will probably agree to just a repayment plan, but if she burys her head in the sand and doesn't contact them ASAP they might take a harder line

Adviceinscotland Wed 25-Jul-12 10:10:20

In cab with her just now

If this does not give her a kick up the arse nothing will.

I feel like a bit of dirt and I am just supporting her.

SilkySmith Wed 25-Jul-12 10:18:44

that's terrible that you feel that way in there!, CAB are meant to be on your side?

what did they say?

Adviceinscotland Wed 25-Jul-12 10:21:35

He is away getting advice after getting all the info.

I can hear most of what he is saying in the next room so quite sure the whole waiting room can confused

Friend trying not to be sick and I am trying to distract myself on here!

Adviceinscotland Wed 25-Jul-12 10:23:21

Hang on!

Maybe it isn't his voice after all.

PerryCombover Wed 25-Jul-12 10:32:43

I think that if she's straightforward they will work with her to sort it out.

I hope that she's okay.

Adviceinscotland Wed 25-Jul-12 10:36:36

She is not ok at all actually I'm worried for her mental health a bit (no previous problems in this area)

She is sat with a nappy sack to be sick into. The guy came back said she could likely be prosecuted then went off to talk to his manager again to find out if they are allowed to call tax credits on her behalf even though it says in the letter they can.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 25-Jul-12 11:22:43

To be fair to the CAB people, they have to give your friend the full story, warts and all. When you're talking about fraud, there's no nice way to dress it up and they'll have to mention things like prosecution because it is one of the possible outcomes. The unknown is far more frightening than having the information. She may feel better once it's all out in the open.

Adviceinscotland Wed 25-Jul-12 12:38:00

Complete and utter waste of time.

Feel heart sorry for her now.

After 1.5 we were sent away in the same position we started in.

She poured the whole story out which was written down and he put it in the bin infront of us as we left.

He could not get through on the number and has told her to call up but take their lead about dates. When I questioned that surely she should just confess he said that was up to her.

She practically begged him to try the number again before we left but he told her to try herself from home.

gettingeasier Wed 25-Jul-12 12:40:43

Well you sound like a brilliant friend , in all truth I'm not sure I could be so supportive in these circumstances but can see its the right thing to do.

Sorry but three years of claiming money as a single person when you are actually married ???? I agree maybe year one you just dont update HMRC but to blatantly lie on the next two annual renewals in order to get the best part of £1,000 a month ???

I am not surprised she is in such a mess but my sympathy is very limited

Mintyy Wed 25-Jul-12 12:47:47

Honestly ... what did she think would happen? Sorry but she utterly needs to get a grip. Perhaps the CAB man wanted you to leave as its pretty anti social to go in to an office with a nappy sack to throw up into.

Adviceinscotland Wed 25-Jul-12 12:55:57

Easier- I have known her a while and she has been through a lot, no excuse but she is not all bad.

Minty- grin the guy was not in the room at the time!

OP I know that your friend is clearly in shock over this but to some extent she's trying not to take responsibility for this. She's got you going to the CAB with her, and "She practically begged him to try the number again before we left but he told her to try herself from home" - what did she think the CAB man was going to achieve on the phone that she couldn't?

Sit with her whilst she phones but your friend needs to get in touch with HMRC herself. As others have said, she may feel better once it's all out inthe open.

TheMonster Wed 25-Jul-12 12:59:56

To be brutally honest, she got herself into this mess. You're a good friend to stand by her, but I don't think I would want to help a fraudster.

TheMonster Wed 25-Jul-12 13:00:41

The CAB are there to help people and offer advice. They're not there to support criminal activities.

SecretPlansAndCleverTricks Wed 25-Jul-12 23:09:37

Some women work full time for £1000 a month.

BigFatCushion Wed 25-Jul-12 23:23:09

What a nightmare for everyone involved.

webwiz Wed 25-Jul-12 23:34:56

I'm a CAB adviser and we are not allowed to get involved in benefit fraud cases other than to talk about what the possible consequences are. If someone has been falsely accused we can act on their behalf but not if they have admit to committing the fraud.

Adviceinscotland Thu 26-Jul-12 07:27:24

She tried to call tax credits all day yesterday but it looks like the number they gave her is down. She called the normal tax credits office to see if they could transfer her but they can't do it so she will need to try again today.

Seemingly when you do call them though they get your side of the story then tell you they will call you back in a few weeks confused

sweetkitty Thu 26-Jul-12 07:37:50

I have very little sympathy for her as well. Every month she's had £800 coming in an spending it knowing it wasn't hers.

She needs to tell her DP the stress and guilt will kill her.

I don't think it will be as bad as she thinks but she needs to confess, hold her hands up and start making offers to pay it back, will her DP not notice she now has no money spare?

A "friend" of mine got caught claiming benefits as a single parent when she had a DP working ft and living with her. She went into see them and the said stop claiming now and you can pay back £5 a week!

Adviceinscotland Thu 26-Jul-12 07:43:30

She is hoping they will agree to totally stop her claim and not put in a joint claim and just pay back every penny she has had. Have tried explaining she will end up paying more than she needs back as they would have been entitled to something as a couple but she says after years of worrying and getting herself in deeper she just wants a clean break.

Her dh is about to leave to work away for 6-7 months so she is using that as a excuse not to tell him.

She knows I am posting here btw she has posted herself on another forum and had some good advice.

financialwizard Thu 26-Jul-12 08:49:10

What does her OH do? If it is what I think it is he could be in trouble by association regardless of whether he knew or not. She MUST be honest with him if that is the case.

OlympicTeaDrinker Thu 26-Jul-12 08:53:52

Court without fail

Pay it back without fail.

If it is then the tens of thousands then she could even look at custodial term.

I understand the skint thing but how is it ok to claim extra you're not entitled to. She deserves everything she gets.

LIZS Thu 26-Jul-12 09:20:24

Sorry she took her chances, deliberately falsified at least 2 claims and would presumably have happily continued to do so had she not got caught. Bit too late for sympathy imho, £800 buys a lot of "essentials". Once they have investigated this last year they will look further back and it wodul be better for her to come clean on those now. She sounds as if still in denial tbh. How does she plan to manage on minimal income going forward, or presumably her dh would contribute while away? Is there any chance of him deferring the trip ?

Adviceinscotland Thu 26-Jul-12 09:53:53

Secret- I work 55 hours a week and don't always make £1000 a month so I understand the enormity of the amounts she has claimed.

Adviceinscotland Thu 26-Jul-12 09:54:42

Sorry should have added to that I am a childminder so my hourly rate can be very low if only one mindee at that time.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 26-Jul-12 09:59:35

We are constantly defrauding the tax credits people. Mainly because they employ eejits who cannot understand simple English or enter data correctly into their system.

They normally just take it off next years claim at a very low amount, although this year they owe us money, after entering in that DH was paid £2300 for three days on JSA rather than £23 hmm

However ours is always accidental. I have no idea what they'd do if they knew she was lying deliberately.

Inyourhippyhat Thu 26-Jul-12 10:03:04

Info from the HMRC website. www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/things-go-wrong/complaints-appeals/fraud.htm

The best your friend can do is get in contact with HMRC asap and fess up. The more she delays, the worse it will be for her. The HMRC does undertake civil proceedings where the claimant is not prosecuted but this may not be applicable in your friend's case.

Adviceinscotland Thu 26-Jul-12 16:43:38

She still can't get in touch so has written a long letter giving all the details and had sent it special delivery so it will be there by 1pm tomorrow.

Suppose that's it out her hands now. I will keep updating as from what I have seen through trawling the Internet the last few days there is loads of people in either this or similar situations.

If it stops one person making the same mistake it will be worth it.

emmieging Fri 27-Jul-12 17:39:20

You are a good friend but you need to stand back a bit. She is the one who's acted dishonestly- for a LONG time. And I don't doubt the background of illness and other problems- but plenty of other people have to face serious illness or tough situations and manage to do so without turning to crime. Think of the hundreds of thousands of young mums and dads working their butts off all week to earn what she has been stealing.

My sympathy is very limited. And FWIW apart from chucking what your friend wrote in the bin, which seems very bad form, I cant see how CAB have done anything wrong. What did you expect? A a magic wand? They are obliged to inform her of the possible consequences.

Adviceinscotland Fri 27-Jul-12 18:18:45

Yes I did expect a magic wand blush I thought they would phone them up and say some wonderful legal jargon and everything would be sorted.

I just hate seeing people in a state even if it is their own doing, I have made some bad mistakes in the past (though not illegal) and I would hate it if they had been held againsed me forever more.

The more I have looked into this the last few days though the more I am completely astounded at how common it is and how lenient tax credits usually are with fraudsters.

It's very rare that even in cases worth tens of thousands that they prosecute, usually you just have to pay back the money you have stolen.

Infact the only tax credits case I have cone across that ended in prosecution involved a parish councillor so I take it they were just trying to make a example of her (even though further down the line after her name had been dragged through the papers she had received a apology hmm)

Dwp seem to prosecute far more often and for much smaller sums which puzzles me seeing as how they are both government departments.

Adviceinscotland Fri 27-Jul-12 18:20:27

Sorry just read that back and it sounds like I am thinking it's a good gamble to take, believe me it's not!!!

Sighingagain Fri 27-Jul-12 18:32:22

Dhs ex did this - for years - against his wishes - it was a ridiculous situation where the council tax showed him as living there (he refused to be a party to it and as he paid bill refused to let her clai
Single person).

This was a long time ago.

She finally got caught a number of years after he and one of his DCs had been living with me for years and they stopped my (our) tax credits and child benefit as they had identified a duplicate claim.

Apparently she had "accidentally" been claiming for a child that. wasn't living with her. They asked for all dates of where Dh had been living and his dc.

As far as I am aware she had to rePay - a lot of money (based on ranty calls to Dh about it being his fault), but there was no prosecution.

I don't know if she had to repay the "accidental" claim for a dc that didn't live with her or the whole lot.

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

MooMa42o Tue 14-Aug-12 15:22:07

No it was disability living allowance, illegitimately claimed for 3 years, i think the final figure was £67k , he was unceremoniously fired & escorted out of the building, nobody new why, then a few months later it is all over the papers, i guess that that was the reason behind the sacking! I agree with Valium queen that the wait between putting in your form is excruciating, hoping they owe you some money all the while stressing out that it could be the other way around, what i don't understand is why do we have to fill out these forms anyway, surly the government knows exactly how much we do or don't get paid & how much benefits we do or don't receive, they should just work it out themselves, why we need to get involved is beyond me! I would take a step back from this "friend" though dishonesty is a bugbear of mine & i would be furious over her actions, fair enough she was "ill" over it but all brought on herself, i not so secretly wish for her to be made an example of & the whole system reviewed!

ValiumQueen Tue 14-Aug-12 15:41:54

£67K wow! Fingers crossed MooMa that it is a big fat cheque. For us both! I agree they know how much we get paid, and if they communicated directly with the childcare provider who also pays tax etc, or even if we had to provide a letter from childcare provider before the claim is agreed? Oh well. We should hear soon.

I believe the tax credits database and income tax databases are different, plus you can take things like Gift Aid payments off your income, so easier for everybody to work out their own figures. I imagine it would be a massive job to write a database which links up income figures for two parties, deductions, savings etc etc

For example I realised this year that the scout and guide subscriptions we pay are gift-aided, therefore you can take this figure off your income for tax credits - essentially you get 41p back for every pound you pay in subscriptions

ValiumQueen Tue 14-Aug-12 15:52:20

I need to look into stuff like that mrsmini thank you.

Adviceinscotland Tue 14-Aug-12 18:35:40

67k confused that would buy a house in Scotland!!

piebaldpony Tue 14-Aug-12 21:57:22

MrsMinivers Don't think that it is you that gets the benefit of gift aid. The gift aid thing is so that charities can claim back the tax that you have paid on any donation. You have to be a taxpayer before a charity can claim back the tax, that's why there is sometimes a box to tick confirming you are taxpayer on forms accompanying charitable donations.

Yes, the charity gets the tax back, however gift aid donations are taken off your income when you work out the figures to declare for tax credits. See here

Adviceinscotland Wed 10-Oct-12 22:35:12

Update- friend has overpayment off 18k, should go down to 15-16k after they work out how much she would have been due as a couple last year and subtract that from the total.

No fine or punishment of any sort.

She has not worked out the payment plan yet but seemingly it can be paid over ten years.

Feckbox Wed 10-Oct-12 22:57:55

blimey no wonder people defraud the benefits system

Happylander Wed 10-Oct-12 23:01:01

I am sorry but there is no way that they just used the money to live on. That is a lot of money, more disposable income than I have a month and she knew what she was doing.

I think it is shame she hasn't been charged.

What does her partner do?

Adviceinscotland Thu 11-Oct-12 08:32:16

Her partner is in the navy.

He still knows nothing off it.

I've not seen her much lately as we are packing up to move away, she knew that I had posted here back in the summer though when looking for advice.

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