A staggering £30,000 of fraudulent benefit claims have been detected by officers at Boston Borough Council.
The authority’s fraud squad have discovered the claims for housing and council tax benefit and support claims for the first financial quarter of the year.
Anyone found to have made a fraudulent claim is required to repay in full the amounts overpaid to them, they also lose entitlement to their benefits for a set period and those prosecuted for their offences must pay towards the legal costs.
The claims found to be fraudulent from April to June of this year included several cases of undeclared employment for either themselves or a household member, cases of failing to declare living with a partner and a case of contrived tenancy, which involved fraudulently claiming housing and council tax benefit while renting a property from an ex-partner.
The latter case resulted in the claimant being sentenced to 20 weeks’ custody, suspended for 18 months, due to the severity of the offence.
The council is clamping down on fraud and the fraud department utilises a range of intelligence resources to gather information and evidence, which can be used to identify the fraudulent claims.
But the authority says the best source of intelligence is you – the public.
Thanks to information provided by the residents of Boston, fraudulent claims have been stopped, the offenders punished and thousands of pounds of tax-payers’ money saved.
The council encourages anybody who has a genuine suspicion that benefits are being claimed fraudulently to report it to the authority. This may include somebody failing to declare work, failing to declare savings, failing to declare ownership of property, failing to declare a partner or other people living in the household, not living at the claim address or providing false information for the purpose of claiming benefits.
l All information can be provided anonymously by calling 0800 0853716. Alternatively, you can complete an online fraud referral form found on the fraud section of the council’s website (www.boston.gov.uk) or go in to the council’s West Street headquarters to speak to a member of staff directly.