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Friend been caught defrauding tax credits

(115 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 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!

FireOverBabylon Wed 25-Jul-12 12:57:02

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.

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.

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