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Benefit Fraud Could Lead To 10-Year Jail Terms, Says Dpp

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24104743

Benefit cheats are to face increased prison sentences of up to 10 years, under new guidelines set out by the director of public prosecutions.

Keir Starmer QC said it was time for a "tough stance" on benefit and tax credit fraud, as he issued the guidance for prosecutors in England and Wales.

He said the £1.9bn annual cost of the crime to the nation should always be at the "forefront of lawyers" minds.

It was a myth "getting one over" on the system was a victimless crime, he said.

And still the bankers walk free.

Will we see similar tough sentences for those committing tax evasion?

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Not really! If there is someone capable to deals with the problems, they discredit him.

For example: Hmrc's David Heaton a government tax adviser who was secretly filmed offering tips on how to keep money "out of the chancellor's grubby mitts" has resigned.

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Wonder whether they are talking about clear fraud such as working whilst claiming unemployment benefit or multiple claims by one person under several IDs. Otherwise there are a lot of grey areas in working tax credit and disability claims.

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Not really! If there is someone capable to deals with the problems, they discredit him.

For example: Hmrc's David Heaton a government tax adviser who was secretly filmed offering tips on how to keep money "out of the chancellor's grubby mitts" has resigned.

And if I skim read the article correctly he was giving that advice several months before he was hired by HMRC so it was a complete non story anyway.

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And how much does prison cost per year?

Yes, it costs the taxpayer a bomb.

Anyone with assets should IMO be made to pay double what they've fiddled. You hear of people with 2 or 3 properties still claiming housing benefit. yes, I know it's not every day, but when there's been significant, quite deliberate fraud, a hefty financial penalty, not just paying back what you've fiddled, is surely in order.

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It's all spin. The headline says one thing, the story doesn't support it. All it says is that benefit fraud will be treated as fraud, and the courts can impose a theoretical maximum of ten years.

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He said the £1.9bn annual cost of the crime to the nation should always be at the "forefront of lawyers" minds

And how many £billions/trillions did the bank frauds cost - that's apart from helping to destroy the entire economy.

It was a myth "getting one over" on the system was a victimless crime, ...

Edited by billybong

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And how much does prison cost per year?

Lots......wouldn't working in the community for free and deducting it off future benefits/earnings/assets be a better way....after all if someone on benefits can borrow money on wonga they can afford to pay back what they took without permission. ;)

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Think this has backfired on the Tories quite badly.

Most people are (quite rightly) flagging up why the elite/MPs get away with it, and how this is probably a more pressing issue in terms of financial fiddling.

Isn't the amount of money lost to benefit fraud actually less than the amount of benefit money other people are entitled to (but don't claim).

This is a Daily Mail puff piece again, not policy.

I'm sick of successive governments running scared of that rag.

Edited by byron78

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So the government is still trying to shift the mindset of the public to blame the poorest people in society for the lack of resources? Not a tactic that should be encouraged by their spin doctors as more are becoming wise to the propaganda. If punishment and/or recouping funds is a government objective, surely they should start where the biggest monetary fraud is? Also where there is a more realistic chance of actually getting funds back.

Tax fraud is now subject to maybe 400 prosecutions a year. The penalties are small. But ten years is being threatened for benefit fraud. The publicity, the sentences and the messaging is all disproportionate and the allocation of resources is all wrong.

Tax evasion is the cancer really causing a crisis in the UK, undermining fair competition, destroying trust, eroding professional standards, fuelling austerity, driving misery and denying our children a future. But it’s benefit fraud that is picked on. That’s warped logic if ever there was evidence of such thinking.

- See more at: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2013/09/16/10-years-for-benefit-fraud-is-absurd-when-99-of-tax-fraudsters-walk-away-with-their-anonymity-intact/#sthash.eefaZw1g.hD5EqZtn.dpuf

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2013/09/16/10-years-for-benefit-fraud-is-absurd-when-99-of-tax-fraudsters-walk-away-with-their-anonymity-intact/

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Think this has backfired on the Tories quite badly.

Most people are (quite rightly) flagging up why the elite/MPs get away with it, and how this is probably a more pressing issue in terms of financial fiddling.

Isn't the amount of money lost to benefit fraud actually less than the amount of benefit money other people are entitled to (but don't claim).

This is a Daily Mail puff piece again, not policy.

I'm sick of successive governments running scared of that rag.

Two wrongs don't make it right.....but one wrong getting away with it, and the other paying for it also does not make it right. ;)

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Think this has backfired on the Tories quite badly.

Most people are (quite rightly) flagging up why the elite/MPs get away with it, and how this is probably a more pressing issue in terms of financial fiddling.

Isn't the amount of money lost to benefit fraud actually less than the amount of benefit money other people are entitled to (but don't claim).

This is a Daily Mail puff piece again, not policy.

I'm sick of successive governments running scared of that rag.

They quote a figure of £2 Bn for benefits fraud, yet tax evasion/avoidance costs the UK in the high £10's of billions per year. Then there's the financial sector fraud which is also in the £10's if not hundreds of billions per year.

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Two wrongs don't make it right.....but one wrong getting away with it, and the other paying for it also does not make it right. ;)

The point is if the gov has limited resources (which it does) then you go for putting your resources where you get the biggest bang for your buck.

That includes using resources such as jail cells.

Imagine if they investigated, charged, and jailed rich ricci, bob diamond, stephen green, etc for overseeing fraud think of the wonderful effect that would have on the big banks policies to fraudulent activity.

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The point is if the gov has limited resources (which it does) then you go for putting your resources where you get the biggest bang for your buck.

That includes using resources such as jail cells.

Imagine if they investigated, charged, and jailed rich ricci, bob diamond, stephen green, etc for overseeing fraud think of the wonderful effect that would have on the big banks policies to fraudulent activity.

Exactly my point really.

Chasing 2 billion fraud with the threat of a huge bill to the tax payer (should there be a conviction) isn't really the brightest use of the money available is it?

This is about headlines and politicising, not an intelligent use of public funds.

I'd rather see that spent chasing the billions lost elsewhere that you've (rightly) flagged first, and then if there's anything left (or perhaps even using the money recouped) we can discuss whether this is an effective strategy to put people off of benefit fraud.

As I said, from what I'm told (by those working in the local bennies department) part of the problem stems from the fact they're loath to advertise what people are and aren't actually entitled to, because the unclaimed figure is more than the fraud figure. They also have to wade through literally loads of nuisance/nonsense claims of benefit fraud, usually made by busy-body neighbours assuming anyone on benefits is Satan (and is therefore almost certainly fiddling the system, because their Daily Mail says everyone is aren't they?), or ex-partners with an axe to grind. It's a pretty pants and costly system of retrieval - be interested to see how much it costs actually (it's almost all done at the local council level, and you will never EVER find an honest/solid figure for it). I'd speculate recovery costs about as much as it actually recovers, if not more.

Edited by byron78

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So how does this work; the bankers commit fraud on a massive scale and as a result bring down the system, costing us all billions in bailouts, QE, ZIRP ect ect to prevent the collapse of society.

But not a single banker goes to jail. Nor are any effective actions to taken to change the system to prevent this happening again.

Instead the fearless guardians of the public purse swing into action to increase the jail terms for benefit fraud.

Rule of law is nothing unless applied equally to all- but when it comes to fraud it's one rule for the poor and another for the rich.

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So how does this work; the bankers commit fraud on a massive scale and as a result bring down the system, costing us all billions in bailouts, QE, ZIRP ect ect to prevent the collapse of society.

But not a single banker goes to jail. Nor are any effective actions to taken to change the system to prevent this happening again.

Instead the fearless guardians of the public purse swing into action to increase the jail terms for benefit fraud.

Rule of law is nothing unless applied equally to all- but when it comes to fraud it's one rule for the poor and another for the rich.

100% agree...what example have our politicians given us...bail outs to fraudulent banksters and expensive payment fraud on a massive scale.

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