21 Jan 2019

Judge: benefits system "cumbersome, overrun and creaking"

A judge has blasted Britain's "cumbersome, overrun and creaking" benefits system after a woman falsely claimed £73,000 in handouts. (h/t Dave)

Joanne Mole, 47, raked in £44,500 in child tax credits, £27,000 in housing benefit and £1,891 in council tax support by falsely claiming she was single. She said she was a single mother to her two sons for six years when in fact her husband moved back in with her in 2010. At Manchester Crown Court, she admitted benefit fraud but wept with relief when avoiding jail with an eight-month suspended prison term.

In her sentencing, Judge Angela Nield said the benefits system was too "heavily reliant" on claimants' honesty and "all too often open to misuse".
The benefits system in this country is unique in the world. It is, however, cumbersome and very heavily reliant on those who claim from the system. All too often it is open to misuse. It is not easy to detect claims of this nature which are made fraudulently, which result in large amounts of money being taken from this system which is already overrun and creaking.
Last night, John O'Connell, chief executive at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "With benefit fraud, not only is the money needed elsewhere, but the injustice of people cheating a system designed to help the most vulnerable is very keenly felt. We hope people will act responsibly and not take money that doesn't belong to them, needed to help those who deserve support."

Mole admitted two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances and one charge of falsely claiming tax benefits.

The court heard she made six years of benefits claims from 2010 to 2016 without disclosing she was still living with her husband Steven. The couple had temporarily split up and she claimed handouts on the basis she was a single parent in sole care of their two sons.

But he moved back into their home in Bury and she continued claiming her single person's allowances until she was caught in 2017.

Mole, who reportedly had credit card debts, later claimed she had used the money to "make ends meet".

Judge Nield told her: "This is one of those offences where this court is urged to consider very carefully the elements of deterrence. You falsely claimed these payments over a prolonged period but you have no previous convictions and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. There is no evidence that you used this money to live an extravagant lifestyle. You used this money to make ends meet."

The Department for Work and Pensions has defended itself against criticism.

A spokesman said: "Levels of benefit fraud remain very low. But we are tackling the small minority who try to cheat the system by working closely with police and local authorities. Also, by developing new fraud detection technology and increasing the size of our financial investigations unit."

Source with pictures

Judges know from what they see in their courts that the benefits system is creaking, and enforcement is difficult and slow. 

The DWP wants to give the appearance of being busy at rooting out benefit fraud. But if they find too much, that could cause them problems politically. So their tactic is to look busy, find about as much as before, but not to try too hard to find more. 

Which they easily could. And save taxpayers money. But they prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.

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