People break the law for all sorts of reasons. For some, the pressures of family life can push them into situations that they find it hard to escape from, whereas for others it’s simply a case of a beneficial mistake that goes uncorrected.
At Mary Monson Solicitors we understand this and how sometimes people can get themselves into unfortunate situations. The work we do is more than just a job for us and we work tirelessly to always get appropriate resolution for our client.
Someone will be committing a benefit fraud if they fail to tell the DWP correct information about themselves. This includes accurate details of savings, family income, other adults living with them and ownership of any other land. A fraud could also be committed if someone tells the DWP that they are renting a property they actually own, pretends to be paying more rent than they are really, failing to inform about tenants moving out or asking an employer to say that they are earning less money than they actually are.
For cases involving benefit overpayment of over £20,000, a custodial sentence of around 9-12 months will normally be imposed. Large-scale benefit fraud can result in sentences of over 30 months. A jail sentence can contain a deterrent element and make ‘examples’ of people.
People should not be held accountable to things they have not done. We mitigate sentences for our clients by off-setting the amount of benefits they have legitimately received against the amount of overpayment claimed. We employ benefits experts to work out the correct levels of claims and investigate our client’s circumstance. This will normally reduce the amount of overpayment by 80%.
Mitigation can reduce any sentence and a guilty plea will always do this. In cases of benefit fraud, extra factors that are taken into account are the amount of time over which the fraud occurred and the total amount. Character evidence and voluntary repayments can also be taken into account.
At Mary Monson Solicitors we can further reduce a sentence by making representations as to the circumstances of the offence and how the fraud began, what the money was spent on and any particular special matters relevant such as family breakdown, illness or disability. If a client has unknowingly committed a benefit fraud in order to feed their young family, then we can ensure this is taken into account in sentencing and given full consideration by the court.
If you would like to speak to one of our criminal solicitors regarding benefit fraud, please contact us on freephone 0808 155 4870 and ask to speak to a criminal defence lawyer in our London, Manchester, Salford or Birmingham offices.