27 Feb 2013

Cambridge looks to gear up anti-fraud measures

A crackdown on Cambridge’s benefit cheats has been intensified after they defrauded almost £600,000 in four years.

Seventy council tax and housing benefit fraudsters have been caught since 2009.

Investigators managed to track down and prosecute 23 of them in 2009/10 who netted £212,000 by making false claims for support.

The following year 16 were snared after they had claimed £109,000. Another 16 were caught in 2011/12, having conned £116,000 from the taxpayer. The 15 prosecuted in 2012/13 had got £140,000 from council coffers.

The cost of full-time benefit fraud investigators as well as legal fees over the four years was £327,000.

The figures come after a pioneering scheme to tackle council and benefit-style frauds in Cambridgeshire was launched.

The project is set to be led by Huntingdonshire District Council and rolled out county-wide.

The planned new “fraud hub” for the county is expected to create bigger savings for councils by tackling a range of fiddles.

Huntingdonshire’s fraud team is in the process of negotiating funding for the project, including with the EU Funding Office in Strasbourg, to create the hub in which it would take the lead role.

The scheme would involve organisations such as city, county and district councils, police and housing providers.

It would look into areas such as housing and council tax benefit frauds, tenancy frauds and potential council procurement fiddles which cost the country an estimated £2.2 billion a year.

1 comment:

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