Universal credit: DWP to receive £ 510million boost to tackle benefit fraud
The government plans to pay an injection of Â£ 510million to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help crack down on fraudsters who lie about their benefit claims.
As part of the plans announced today (Monday, December 13), the government will use the money to improve the department’s ability and capacity to detect and prevent benefit fraud and catch fraudsters.
About 2,000 trained specialists will review applications by performing property checks, tracking self-employed applicants’ tax returns and cross-checking bank details.
Ministers hope the crackdown will help recover more taxpayers’ money.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: âInvesting in anti-fraud measures protects honest taxpayers’ money and prevents criminals from funding their illicit activities at the expense of our welfare system.
âWe know the characteristics of a suspicious claim. This injection of half a billion pounds of cash sends a clear message to fraudsters and criminal gangs: anyone who tries to rip us off will get caught. “
In a recent case in Stratford-upon-Avon, DWP investigators joined forces with West Midlands Police.
Operation Iggy was a sting of a woman who had made 14 universal credit applications totaling Â£ 270,000 using false identity documents.
She was arrested and the false documents were found in her house. She was sentenced to 30 months in prison. The DWP is now recovering the money.
One of the tactics used by law enforcement officials to bring criminals to justice, according to the DWP, is to gather intelligence on cases where fraudsters have used photoshopped images to attempt to verify their compensation claim fraudulent, which makes it easier for investigators to catch them.
Commenting on the footage, an enforcement official said: âThese images show that some people will try anything to make their nest, but these tactics will not work.
âWhile we obviously don’t need the high tech to know that fraud is happening here, this activity reflects the contempt these would-be scammers have for the taxpayer. “
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