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  • September 16th, 2013

Benefit Fraud Sentences Face Changes

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Under new guidelines from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), those who are charged with benefit fraud offences could see face a prison term of up to ten years.

Under plans to crackdown on people who “flout the system”, suspects can now be charged under the Fraud Act which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. As well the financial threshold which prevents benefit fraud cases involving less than £20,000 from being sent to crown court will also be abolished.

Previously the maximum sentence is 7 years whilst cases involving less than £20,000 was previously automatically allocated to magistrates courts, which can hand out maximum sentences of only 12 months.

Mr Starmer said: “It is a myth that ‘getting one over on the system’ is a victimless crime. The truth is that we all pay the price. I am determined to see a clampdown on those who flout the system.

“It’s not only taxpayers that suffer. Benefits exist to protect and support the most vulnerable people in our society and, whenever the system is defrauded, it’s also taking money away from those with a genuine need.”

He added: “The cost to the nation incurred by benefit fraud should be at the forefront of lawyers’ minds when considering whether a prosecution is in the public interest. The loss of money has a significant impact on communities up and down the country.”

“Where frauds have been professionally planned, carried out over a long period of time and include attempts to conceal or destroy evidence, then we will make this plain when advising the courts on sentencing.”

If you are facing a benefit fraud investigation you can read more here on how to get advice and representation.

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