Pension Credit fraud investigation dropped
Our client consulted our benefit fraud expert, Laura O’Brien, about a pension credit fraud Investigation by the DWP. Laura called the investigating officer and established the exact nature of the allegation which was that the client had been fraudulently claiming Pension Guarantee Credit because he had failed to declare his wife’s earnings.
Our client explained that although they lived at the same address they were not living as man and wife and had not done so for many years. He said that he was not given details of his wife’s earnings. He explained that he had told the DWP that his wife did some agency work.
The Fraud Investigation officer wanted to conduct an interview under caution which we attended with our client. The principal objective was to avoid our client’s prosecution under s111a of the Social Security Administration Act, which has a maximum sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment, for an offence of dishonestly obtaining Pension Guarantee payments by failing to declare his wife’s earnings. The sum obtained was over £50,000 and the sentencing guidelines would very likely had meant our client was at risk of a custodial sentence.
Having attended the interview and strongly represented her client’s interests Laura negotiated hard over the following weeks and made submissions to the effect that dishonesty could not be established. Her efforts were successful and, to his very great relief, it was confirmed that our client would not be prosecuted.
This case shows the importance of clients taking early advice to establish the case they are facing and to avoid making statements which they do not know the relevance of until the investigator has revealed the exact nature of the evidence they have.