Hylton-Potts Law Blog

Legal Issues and Opinions affecting people from across the UK


Kickboxing star’s mother guilty of fraud after “exaggerating her condition”

Benefit fraud – the very phrase tends to conjure images of inner city poverty, council estates and the long-term unemployed desperately looking to catch a break that never comes. Of course, when you think about it, that’s not really the case at all. Most people in these kinds of circumstances are the genuine claimants for whom the entire system is designed. Fraudsters, as we have found out in recent articles, can be the most improbable people, including royalty and reality TV stars.
Here’s another example of a benefits fraud case that is a little outside the normal, as it all revolves

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More than £1 billion recovered from expats who take the money and run

In 2018, the world seems like a smaller place. The power of the internet has made it possible for us to talk for hours with people on the other side of the planet for free, and the increase in cheap flights means it is often more cost effective to pop over to Spain or Portugal than it is to take a train into London.
But there are more significant shifts afoot in the global community. With more people working remotely and never having to go into an office, and still more operating in that twilight world of the gig economy, there

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Benefit fraudster wants to choose his community service

When the Department of Work and Pensions successfully prosecutes a benefit fraud case, it is down to the court to decide on sentencing. From the case studies we have reported in recent months, readers will have noticed that a custodial sentence is always a possibility, but for those with an otherwise good history and no other convictions, a suspended sentence is the more common outcome. Often, a court will also order the defendant to undertake a set number of hours of unpaid work.
This was the result of a trial that was heard at the Old Bailey last month, relating

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Dundee man faked injury for 23 years to claim benefits

When it comes to disability allowance, one of the most common areas in which claimants find themselves facing fraud charges is when they have failed to keep the benefits office up to date on their condition. Sometimes their health improves but they do not inform the Department of Work and Pensions, and on other occasions, it might be a case where some days are better than others. We discussed a matter that fell into that category a few weeks ago in the case of Neil Shepherd.
There are certainly some grey areas here, and you might well wonder just how often

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68 year old cleaning lady charged with benefit fraud – for doing two extra hours

When you hear the phrase “benefit fraud” it can cover a whole range of misdemeanours. In recent weeks we have talked about fraudsters who claimed tens of thousands of pounds to have cosmetic surgery or go on luxury holidays, and we have also talked about people unwittingly sent over the permitted savings limit due to financial gifts from well-intentioned family members.
While these make interesting case studies, the pattern that regular readers will probably notice is that as far as the DWP is concerned, they really don’t care about the circumstances. If they think that money has been falsely claimed

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Glamourous Granny who falsely claimed £40,000 caught out by holiday snaps

A 54 year old grandmother with a taste for the finer things in life appeared at Newport Crown Court last week charged with defrauding the benefits system to the tune of more than £41,000 over the course of five years.
She spent the money on luxurious holidays and shared photographs of her travels on social media – but it was not just her Facebook friends who were watching. DWP investigators used the social media posts as a core part of their case.
False claims
Geraldine Thomas has been sharing her home in Wales “on and off” with her partner Raymond Adams for almost

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Former MP found guilty of benefit fraud

A former Conservative member of parliament has been charged with falsely claiming disability benefits to the tune of more than £10,000. The accusations are all the more galling in that he defrauded the very authority that he had previously been elected to represent – Fylde Council in the north west of England.
Albert Pounder is a 74 year old with a long history in local government. He also has a reputation for attracting controversy. In 2011, he was at the centre of an investigation into planning applications at a local hotel, in which he had failed to disclose personal business interests.

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Organised crime gang committed £4.6 million benefit fraud

The phrase “benefit fraud” conjures images of people living close to the poverty line, struggling to make ends meet and forced to desperate measures by desperate times. Of course, in many cases, that is exactly what happens, but if we have learned one thing in our many years experience at Hylton Potts, it is that anyone can find themselves on the sharp end of an investigation by the Department of Work and Pensions, regardless of wealth, employment status or social background.
Only a few weeks ago, we covered the story of a member of the landed gentry with royal connections who

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HMRC fraud investigator nets £50,000 in falsely claimed tax credits

Regular reader will know that the topic of tax credits can be a complicated one, and the HMRC investigators are quick to jump on anything that could be a false claim. One of the things they are particularly sharp on is personal circumstances, and if you are claiming as a single person and then form a relationship with someone, they have teams of investigators who will go to great lengths to dig into your personal life and check for any overpayments.
One such investigator is Nicola Shaw, a 37-year-old mother from Liverpool. She knows the system better than anyone, and has

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HMRC bungles costing the taxpayer vastly more than benefit fraudsters

Spend too long watching Channel 5 documentaries or reading certain newspapers and you can end up thinking that the UK is full to bursting point with people doing nothing all day but sitting around watching TV and fraudulently claiming benefits. The thing is, shouty headlines about “benefits cheats” and documentaries about the seedier side of life in the nation’s towns and cities sell newspapers and attract viewers.
It is an illusion that bodies like the DWP and HMRC are only to happy to propagate. After all, if there is money leaking out of the system somewhere, it makes sense that it

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