Benefit fraud, according to the Department for Work and Pensions, is when someone obtains a benefit that they were originally not entitled to, and then fails to report that change either to the authorities or to the person that the benefit was originally entitled to. A very common form of benefit fraud is when one individual receives unemployment benefits that they either should not be receiving or that should be going to another individual, and then they deliberately choose to keep accepting the unemployment benefits without reporting it to anyone. This is the most common form of benefit fraud, and even though it sounds simple enough, as we shall see it can actually get just a little more complicated than that.
What is the Punishment, or Punishments, for Benefit Fraud?
Lots of things are taken into consideration with each benefit fraud case in order to determine the proper punishment for the convicted. Things that will be looked at include if the convicted had any previous criminal records, if they had the obvious intent to commit the benefit fraud, if they had a lack of knowledge concerning the benefit fraud, and how much money they took from the fraud and thus owe. The sentencing will most likely not be very strict for the convicted if they didn’t take very much money, or if it’s clear that they had no intention to commit the fraud and didn’t know what they were doing. However, this is also not always the case, and anyone convicted who had previous criminal records or an obvious intention to commit the fraud may be delivered a harsh sentence of multiple years in prison and a hefty fine.
Is it still Benefit Fraud if it was done Overseas?
Plain and simple, benefit fraud is when an individual fails to report an income that they got through fraudulent resources or means. This same logic applies to even if they were receiving payments through these fraudulent resources overseas from another country. This also includes if you were receiving the payment for someone else in your family, say your spouse or children, and even if you didn’t know you were committing the benefit fraud. If you truly didn’t know that you were committing the fraud, however, you can discuss this with your lawyer so that you receive a much lighter (and less expensive) sentencing in court.