Hylton-Potts Law Blog

Legal Issues and Opinions affecting people from across the UK


Grieving mother faces fraud charges for undisclosed savings

A 57-year-old woman with mental health problems who has struggled to come to terms with the death of her son found herself dragged through the legal system last month. And all because of a gift from a well-meaning family member.
Family tragedy
Back in 2010, Judith Porter’s youngest son Ashley died suddenly, on the day after his 19th birthday, at Cumberland Infirmary. He had started coughing up blood at school, and despite having learning difficulties, had been admitted to a communal adult ward without any additional support. From that point on, a series of mistakes, misdiagnoses and failures to take into account

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Woman Found Guilty of Benefit Fraud – After DWP Films her Playing with Dog

Last month, I reported on how DWP investigators had reviewed CCTV footage from a claimant’s place of work and used it to bring a prosecution for falsely claiming Disability Allowance. A reader made the comment that it is surprising the lengths the DWP can and will go to in gathering evidence. Well, prepared to be even more surprised by what happened in Devon last month!
53 year old Sandra Tipton is a dog lover who enjoys attending shows with her beloved boxers. However, since sustaining an injury in 2013, she has suffered from a frozen shoulder, vertigo and dizziness. She

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DWP Investigators Film Benefit Claimant Climbing Stairs

It is no secret that the DWP sometimes goes to quite extraordinary lengths in verifying the circumstances declared by claimants. Over recent months, we have seen a couple of examples of the ingenuity that is sometimes employed in their methods. Last month, we discussed a covert operation they staged to carry out surveillance on a young couple on the Isle of Man, and who can forget the furore surrounding the investigation of Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo?
The latest claimant to be caught out by the eagle eye of the investigators has been a Birmingham forklift driver by the

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Palace insiders say Prince Harry refused to sign a prenup

A few months ago, we discussed the rumours that Harry and Meghan might become the first royal couple to sign a prenuptial agreement. Now they have exchanged their “I dos” in front of a worldwide audience of 11.5 million people. But before they signed their marriage certificate, did they sign something else?
The answer is that they did not, despite advice from close friends and advisors that it would be the sensible thing to do, in order to protect his £30 million fortune. Meghan has significant financial assets of her own, although her wealth is thought to equate to around £3

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Universal Credit “Crushing” New Businesses

It is easy to assume that the Universal Credit saga is one that only affects those who are out of work for one reason or another, and reliant on benefits to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. However, this is only part of the story.
The benefits system exists to help a variety of people in our society, and while our attention might be focussed on the most needy and vulnerable, the effects of Universal Credit could have broader implications on the economy. According to labour politician Frank Field, that includes the self-employed entrepreneurs who are

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Woman falsely claims £70,000 – and spends it on cosmetic surgery

It’s a story being lapped up by the mass media, and is a headline writer’s dream – in fact, the BBC has imaginatively labelled her the Blackwood Boob Job Benefit Fraudster. But what is the real story behind the 41 year old mother of two from Wales?
Tammy Ann Gunter is a former student nurse, who lives in Blackwood, Wales, with her two children. She worked part time in a shop and garage to support herself and her children, and had no other income. At least, that was what she said when she submitted her application for tax credits.
Fraudulent claim
It emerged,

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Terminally ill man to miss chemotherapy after switch to Universal Credit

Over recent months, we have covered the transition to Universal Credit in some detail. The roll out has continued unabated despite claimants facing incredible difficulty and hardship as their claims are transitioned across to the new system.
We have reported the comments from politicians and other public figures, but it is the stories and case studies relating to everyday people that really bring home the difficulties that the Universal Credit steamroller is creating.
Nothing, however, was able to prepare us for the situation facing a 52-year-old cancer sufferer, who says Universal Credit has been nothing short of a death sentence.
High court challenge
The

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Prison for man who pretended to be his dead brother

We have all heard the various stories circulating in the media about identity theft. It is one of the biggest growth areas for criminals, as we share more and more of our personal information online. However, a man in Devon has taken the concept to a new extreme, stealing the identity of his deceased brother in order to defraud the benefits system to the tune of £100,000.
The man with multiple identities
Robert Lewis is a 61 year old from Honiton in Devon, and is no stranger to the court system. Under his previous name of Norman Hill, he had a long

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Couple convicted of fraud for living together after lengthy surveillance operation

A few weeks ago, I shared some tips on the importance of making sure your benefits claim is accurate. Specifically, we went over HMRC rules regarding what constitutes a single person and when they consider you to be a couple, as this is a fundamental aspect when it comes to benefit entitlements.
A recent incident on the Isle of Man serves as a cautionary tale and highlights the potential consequences of supplying false information. It also gives an intriguing glimpse of the lengths to which the authorities will go to catch you out if they suspect your claim is not

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“Skin crawling” comments crank up the tension over controversial “rape clause.”

Who would be a politician? You can set out with the best of intentions, only to have your words twisted and be represented as some sort of callous monster across the front pages of the tabloid press.
Of course, some politicians really don’t do themselves any favours. You would think one of the things they would be taught is to put brain in gear before engaging mouth, but that’s a tip that Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, has yet to fully master. Speaking at the Scottish Parliament’s social security committee, she jumped in feet first, describing the government’s controversial “rape

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