24 Jul 2013

Doncaster reports benefit fraud totals

Fraudsters have swindled taxpayers in Doncaster out of almost £654,000 by making bogus housing and council tax benefit claims over the last year.

Figures revealed in an internal Doncaster Council audit services annual fraud report, show 1,052 fraud cases of this nature were referred to Doncaster Council in 2012/13 - amounting to a total of £653,972.

Of the cases reported, nine concerned benefit frauds of more than £10,000.

Some 30 people were prosecuted, 56 formal cautions were issued and 18 administrative penalties handed out.

The news comes as it was revealed the council recently updated its anti-fraud and corruption procedures and created an action plan to crackdown on fraud in the borough.

Of the cases of benefit fraud, 54 per cent was made up of undeclared income, 24 per cent undeclared person in the property, 15 per cent non-occupancy of the property, 3 per cent undeclared occupational pension, 3 per cent undeclared capital or property and 1 per cent ‘other’.

Although the figures remain high they have decreased since 2011/12 when there were 104 formal cautions over benefits fraud compared to 56 in 2012-13.

The decrease may be due to a new approach in which the Department for Work and Pensions will now only consider taking on an investigation where the potential joint overpayment of benefit is in excess of £2,000.

In the document, discussed at an audit committee meeting on Thursday, blue badge fraud in 2011-12 showed 27 residents had been prosecuted for using a dead relative’s badge to take advantage of disabled parking.

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