Benefit Fraud

Benefit fraud
Legally reviewed by: Kevin Waddingham

If you’re facing accusations of benefit fraud and found guilty, you could be looking at significant prison time. Having the right legal representation is the difference when it comes to staying out of prison. Our meticulous benefit fraud lawyers will build the best possible case to prove your innocence and protect your interests. Benefit fraud accusations can have serious repercussions, small payments of benefits each week or month soon add up, and before long an individual can have wrongfully claimed thousands. Consequently, under the Proceeds of Crime Act, all money can be recovered in addition to lengthy prison sentences.

If you receive a formal invitation to attend a police interview charged or under caution, it is paramount you arrange for a benefit fraud solicitor to represent you. At Cartwright King, you can rely on frank legal advice when you need it from our Benefit Fraud Defence Solicitors. Get in touch now.

How our Benefit Fraud Solicitors can help with your case

Benefit fraud cases require a focused, dedicated solicitor that will scrutinise the evidence against you closely. Our Lawyers are meticulous, doing everything they can to pick holes in the evidence against you and use it to your advantage. 

We work tirelessly to clear you of any wrongdoing. From start to finish we can help with:

  • Accusations of failing to inform the benefit office of your true financial circumstances when claiming benefits – for example, claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance while working
  • Allegations of misleading the benefit office over circumstances at home – for example living with someone, but claiming benefits as a lone parent
  • Accusations of using a false identity to claim benefits
  • Allegations of failing to notify the benefit office of a change in your circumstances that would affect your entitlement to benefits

If you need legal advice concerning any type of benefit fraud allegation, get in touch with Cartwright King today. 

Types Of Benefit Fraud Offences

There are a number of benefits and tax credits that are awarded to people for a range of reasons. Some of which are only granted if particular financial qualifications are met by the claimant. In instances where a person qualifies they are referred to as being means-tested for certain benefits and tax credits. However, should their circumstances change, the entitlement comes to an immediate end. For example, if a single person starts living with a partner, or someone recovers from a disability or long-term illness, their related benefits stop.

The law behind the enforcement of benefit fraud offences is particularly complex. In some cases, it is simply a matter of failing to notify the relevant parties of a change in circumstances, but some suggest grave dishonesty.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and other investigative agencies have been instructed by the Government to drive the prosecution of those committing benefit fraud. Our benefit fraud solicitors can support you with any allegations involving:

  • Council Tax
  • Housing Benefits
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • PIP
  • Pension Credits
  • Child Benefits
  • Universal Credit
  • Bedroom Tax
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income Support

Our benefit fraud solicitors have years of experience working on cases that require liaisons with the Department for Work and Pensions, offering you the best advice regarding interviews with DWP fraud investigators.

Unique Advocacy Services

Our unique advocacy services give you constant and consistent legal representation. Cartwright King can represent you at every stage of your case, giving you reliable, professional and effective legal guidance whenever and wherever you need us.

We can provide legal representation from the police station through to the Higher Courts. When you need us most, we will be there with the legal know-how and calm head to guide you through your case.

Benefit Fraud Prosecution

When there is sufficient evidence against a claimant, the decision can be made to prosecute. This will kickstart legal proceedings, beginning with a court summons requesting you show up at court to plead your case.

Benefit fraud prosecutions proceed like all other criminal prosecutions summoned by the Crown Prosecution Services. However, in some cases, these will be prosecuted by a local authority. It will also depend on the offence whether you will be trialled at a Magistrate’s Court or Crown Court.

A prosecution will enable all the evidence to be reviewed in intense detail. With the help of your benefit fraud solicitor, you will be fully prepped and the entire process will be explained to you. They will procure all the evidence required to make your case. If medical experts are required for your defence, our benefit fraud solicitors can make the necessary arrangements.

Interview Under Caution

If fraud investigators suspect you have committed a benefit offence, it’s likely that you will be summoned to an interview under caution. An interview under caution can be demanding, intimidating and stressful, while evidence you give can be used against you in Court.

That’s why having a Cartwright King Benefit Fraud Defence Solicitor in your corner ensures that your legal rights are protected. We can assist you with an interview under caution and help you develop an action plan to empower you to stand up for yourself.

Benefit from a Free, Initial Telephone Conversation

If you suspect that you’re going to be investigated, or you’re already under investigation, you can benefit from a free, initial telephone call with a Cartwright King Benefit Fraud Defence Solicitor.

If you’re suspected of benefit fraud, there’s no substitute for speaking to a specialist solicitor.

For immediate action, call us or email us for your free* initial discussion. 

The discussion is completely informal and confidential, and is an opportunity for us to:

  • Get to know you 
  • Understand your situation
  • Agree how you want to proceed

*Please be aware that this is a ‘get to know you’ call and no advice will be given.

Why Choose Cartwright King Benefit Fraud Solicitors?

We listen, we understand and we care about what happens to you. We know that allegations of benefit fraud could lead to prison and potentially cut you off from funds that you genuinely depend on to get by. 

Our advice is backed by experience of dealing with all manner of benefit fraud allegations. You can trust this experience to help you navigate accusations made against you. There aren’t many situations we haven’t come across before when dealing with benefit fraud cases. 

Our dedicated Benefit Fraud Defence Lawyers  go above and beyond to give you the support you need, for added peace of mind that your case is in good hands.

Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor gives you the assurance of having access to legal counsel who will advise you at every stage of your case. 

We’re committed to defending your legal rights and ensuring that you’re treated fairly throughout your case. When you need us most, we’ll be there to offer sound, sensible legal advice and sure guidance.  

We’re a trusted, resourceful Legal 500 top tier law firm with specialist solicitors that are calm under pressure, giving you defence counsel that you can count on, no matter how complex your case.

Benefit Fraud Legal Fees

If your financial situation makes it hard to afford legal advice and representation, get in touch with us, either by giving us a call or sending an email, as you might be eligible for Legal Aid. If you are, then we will give you advice on how to proceed and show your eligibility.

In case you don’t classify for Legal Aid, our criminal investigations solicitors will present you with affordable fee levels and fixed fees, as well as advance notice of charges when possible.

Our Benefit Fraud Solicitors Have A Wealth Of Experience

Over the years, our benefit fraud solicitors have worked on a range of fraud cases. If you require our legal advice and guidance concerning your benefit fraud allocation, our professionals can ensure you understand your next steps. Without the legal jargon, our benefit fraud solicitors can guarantee you all well-represented for your interview, whether this is under caution or with charges.

We're here for you.


What prison sentence could I face for benefit fraud?

Cartwright King will do everything we can to help you avoid prosecution, giving you sound, sensible legal advice and sure guidance throughout legal proceedings.

If your case does go to Court and you are convicted, benefit fraud is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Plus, your benefits could be cut off or you may have to repay the overpayments.

Can I get a reduced sentence for benefit fraud if I plead guilty?

A guilty plea can reduce your sentence for benefit fraud by up to a third. The length by which a sentence is reduced depends on how soon you enter a guilty plea. The later you plead guilty as your case progresses, the smaller the sentence reduction.

Pleading guilty ‘early on’ means entering the plea within the ‘first stage of proceedings’ and anytime up to and including your first hearing at the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court for indictable offences.

If you enter your plea within 14 days of the first hearing, the maximum reduction you can expect is one-fifth off any sentence handed down. For indictable offences, you have 28 days to enter a guilty plea after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure.

However, the decision is ultimately down to the discretion of the Judge to determine the level of reduction that is applied to a sentence.

After the 28-day period expires, sentence reduction is considered on a sliding scale, with a one-tenth reduction if a guilty plea is entered on the first day of a trial, right down to zero reduction if a guilty plea is entered after day one of a trial.

Could I face more than just a prison sentence?

Yes. You could be subject to Ancillary Orders, which are additional punishments added to a sentence and can affect the finances of any dependents, your property or business or future financial activity.

Ancillary Orders that can be added if you are found guilty of benefit fraud can include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Confiscation orders
  • Disqualification from directing a company
  • Financial reporting order
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders

Amid a benefit fraud investigation against you, any assets you have could be frozen. Meanwhile, the Court could also make you subject to the payment of costs applied for by prosecutors.

Can you give some examples of benefit fraud?

Examples of benefit fraud include:

  • Deliberately failing to tell the benefit office about your true financial circumstances when you claimed the benefit. For example, you were working while claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or you did not declare all your savings because you knew that it would affect your entitlement to the benefit
  • Deliberately failing to tell the benefit office about your true household circumstances. For example, you were living with someone but claiming benefits as a lone parent
  • Using a false identity or using false documents to claim benefits. For example, you used a false birth certificate so that you could claim Child Benefit
  • Deliberately not telling the benefit office about a change of circumstances because you knew that it would affect your entitlement to the benefit

Can I challenge an overpayment accusation?

You may have been contacted by the benefit office because you have been overpaid. This is not necessarily fraud but can run parallel to a fraud investigation.

Cartwright King has recourse to experts and fraud solicitors who can assist with the civil overpayment and advise you on appealing the alleged overpayment. 

Often we find overpayments are incorrectly calculated by the investigating authority. Reducing the overpayment amount can have a drastic effect on whether the person is prosecuted and the amounts that can be considered in confiscation proceedings. The DWP and local authorities are pursuing defendants in proceeds of crime act hearings, an area that Cartwright King specialises in.

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