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Benefit Fraud

Requested on
Thu 7th March, 2013
Reference
FOI 2771
Resolution
Information provided

Question

a) How many Benefit Fraudsters have you identified in the last 5 years.
b) Of those individuals how many were prosecuted?
c) What is the total outstanding ‘debt’ to the council resulting from benefit fraud ?
d) Of those prosecuted how much money have you recovered?
e) How much of the ‘debt’ has the council written off?

Answer

a)      How many Benefit Fraudsters have you identified in the last 5 years.
234 sanctions

b)      Of those individuals how many were prosecuted?
55

c)       What is the total outstanding ‘debt’ to the council resulting from benefit fraud?
£ 587,226.7

d)      Of those prosecuted how much money have you recovered? 
£134,104.91

e)      How much of the ‘debt’ has the council written off?
Housing Benefit written off - £5375.50
Regarding Council Tax Benefit written off – The amount of debt arising from fraud would be charged to the Council Tax account.  The account would then have to be settled by the Council Tax payer in the usual way and where this was not done, the Council Tax debt recovery process would proceed in the usual way.  Information regarding writing off these arrears would be held as a record on each individual council tax account, but is not held in a manner which would allow us to collate this data easily.  The time it would take to go through each council tax account, look where debts have been written off and then look to see if the debt had occurred due to benefit fraud would exceed the appropriate limit for dealing with requests set out in section 12 of the Act and the Appropriate Limit and Fees Regulations

The Council would normally wish to offer suggestions as to how some of the information could be provided or how a differently worded request could result in information being provided within the terms of the Act and the Regulations.  However due to the complexity of the information requested in this case in relation to the way in which the Council holds information this does not appear possible in this case.

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