Benefit Fraud Defence Solicitors - Manchester
Being investigated for benefit fraud can be a stressful time for anyone and it is important that you work with a legal team who will put you at your ease and who you can trust to fight your corner. If you are under suspicion of this crime, you should contact a legal expert as soon as possible for tailored advice regarding your next steps.
Our specialist fraud solicitors have successfully dealt with countless cases of benefit fraud, so you can rest assured that you have a knowledgeable and experienced team behind you.
If you are dealing with accusations of benefit fraud and need help from the experts, call Draycott Browne as soon as possible on +44 (0)161 228 2244.
What is benefit fraud?
Benefit fraud is a criminal offence that involves the act of illegally gaining more benefit money from the government than you are entitled to. This is usually achieved by somebody not reporting a change of circumstances or being dishonest about their circumstances, for example:
- Failing to inform the benefit office about your full financial circumstances e.g. any savings you may have, so as not to affect your benefits claim.
- Failing to inform the benefit office about your living arrangements e.g. claiming benefits for being a lone parent while living with someone.
- Using false documents to claim benefits, e.g. using a false birth certificate in order to claim Child Benefit.
- Failing to inform the benefit office of a change in circumstances so as not to affect your benefit entitlement.
If you have been reported for fraud, or the authorities suspect fraud, you will be investigated.
What happens if you are under investigation?
If you are suspected of benefit fraud, the following will happen:
- You will be informed that you are under investigation
- You will be asked to attend an interview to discuss your case
- Fraud Investigation Officers (FIOs) will be entitled to visit you at your residence to gather evidence for your case
What happens during an interview
You may be asked to attend an interview to discuss the suspected benefit fraud. Your interview will either be informal or under caution:
- Informal interview - you will be asked to an informal interview if you are suspected or have been reported for benefit fraud. At this point, there is likely to be little evidence against you. Even though the interview is informal, any information you provide could be used to make an allegation of fraud against you.
- Interview under caution - you will be asked to an interview under caution if the authorities have reason to believe you have committed the crime of benefit fraud. You will be informed before the interview that anything you say can be used as evidence against you in court.
Whether you have been invited to an informal interview or an interview under caution, you should contact a legal expert beforehand to advise you on what you should say. This is imperative due to the serious consequences of the outcome of the interview.
What are the penalties of benefit fraud?
If the FIOs successfully find evidence to support the claim of benefit fraud, it is typical for the following to happen:
- Your benefit will be reduced or stopped
- You will either be taken to court or asked to pay a penalty of up to £5,000
- You will be told to pay back any money you took under fraudulent circumstances
HOW WE CAN HELP
From the moment you learn that you are under investigation for benefit fraud, we can help you with guidance and advice on what to say to the authorities. We can assist you with all legal matters from your first interview until the process is concluded.
Legal fees can be an unexpected cost that you may struggle to afford. By applying for legal aid, you can relieve financial stress during your case, leaving you to focus on what matters. Our solicitors will guide you through the process of applying for legal aid, ensuring you have the best possible chance of a successful application.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
Once you have been informed that you are under investigation for benefit fraud, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Our qualified solicitors are experts in benefit fraud cases and will provide you with tailored advice every step of the way. We offer our services within Manchester and throughout North West England. If you are suspected of benefit fraud, call Draycott Browne today on +44 (0)161 228 2244.