We'll track you down

PUBLISHED: 16:00 05 October 2007 | UPDATED: 23:06 28 May 2010

THE strong message from Fenland District Council s benefit fraud office to anyone falsely claiming benefit is: Don t do it. There is no hiding place . Fenland s investigators have been involved in a number of joint investigations aimed at rooting out fra

THE strong message from Fenland District Council's benefit fraud office to anyone falsely claiming benefit is: 'Don't do it. There is no hiding place'.

Fenland's investigators have been involved in a number of joint investigations aimed at rooting out fraud. They have proved successful.

There are currently about 20 cases being processed through the courts and since April, another 20 people have accepted administrative penalties totalling £5,000. Administrative penalties are offered as an alternative to prosecution in less serious cases.

In recent weeks two Fenland benefits fraudsters have been sentenced by Fenland magistrates. A Wisbech woman was caught when a routine data-matching exercise with other organisations sparked a joint investigation by the council and the Department of Works and Pensions.

The woman had failed to declare she was receiving an occupational pension from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham when she claimed council tax benefit between April 1, 2003, and April 1, 2007, as well as income support between November 23, 2001, and April 14, 2005.

Overpayments totalled £2,051 in council tax and £7,788 in income support. The woman was given a 12-month conditional discharge and must repay the overpayments.

A Leverington resident pleaded guilty after an investigation revealed overpayments in council tax of £1,301.33, £1,479 in income support and a further £2,337 in jobseekers' allowance.

The defendant was fined £350 on each count and ordered to pay £100 costs - as well as repaying the overpayments.

Councillor Fred Yeulett, portfolio holder for prevention, intervention and enforcement, said: "There is no hiding place for people who defraud the system. We are working closely with other agencies to root out this criminal activity. Anyone who receives housing benefit and/or council tax benefit and whose financial circumstances subsequently change, should contact the council as early as possible, to avoid court action and a criminal record.

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