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If you are suspected of committing benefit fraud, it is highly likely that you will receive a letter through the post inviting you to attend an interview under caution. It is vitally important that should you receive such a letter, you contact a solicitor to get appropriate legal representation.
Common examples of benefit fraud are
- Deliberately failing to declare your correct financial circumstances, for example working whilst claiming benefit or not declaring savings or a pension, knowing that it will affect your entitlement to benefit.
- Deliberately failing to declare your household circumstances, for example living with a partner whilst claiming benefits as a single person.
- Deliberately failing to notify a change in your circumstances that you know would affect your benefit.
Benefit fraud is taken very seriously by the investigators and the Court and if you are suspected of committing benefit fraud, the implications can be severe. You could be contacted by the department of work and pensions (DWP), HM Revenue and Customs or your Local Authority.
If you are invited to attend an interview under caution, anything you say during that interview could be used as evidence against you. You are not legally obliged to attend an interview, but it is highly recommended that you do, as failure to attend may affect your defence at court. In most circumstances legal aid is available for the interview, alternatively we offer competitive fixed rates to attend an interview with you.
Even if you think you have done nothing wrong, it is always good practice to seek legal advice, as going to an interview alone, may make the situation worse. You may not fully understand how it is the investigators think you have committed an offence. When you have the benefit of legal advice at your interview the investigators will provide our representative with ‘disclosure’ outlining the reasons they wish to interview you.
Once the interview has been conducted, a decision maker will review the evidence and decide whether the case should be prosecuted. You will receive a letter outlining what benefits you have been overpaid. We can help you to appeal the overpayment decision at a Tribunal. Be aware, there are time limits to appealing tribunal decisions.
If you are prosecuted and are required to attend Court you must contact us straight away to arrange an appointment before the court hearing. We will thoroughly prepare your defence and attend all the hearings with you.
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