17 December 2018
An investigation carried out by Richmondshire District Council has uncovered and successfully prosecuted a serious case of fraud in the city, which deprived the public purse of £770.61.
A male (aged 42) of Scotton, submitted a claim for Council Tax Reduction (CTR) in the name of his mother and supported the application with a tenancy agreement that was subsequently found to be fake. An investigation into the CTR claim was conducted by Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service, following suspicions raised by council staff in the benefit and council tax departments. The claim and tenancy agreement claimed that the male’s mother lived at the property by herself however the investigation proved that the male and his wife were also living at the property. The fraud was a calculated attempt to reduce the amount of council tax they had to pay for the property.
The investigation concluded with the man pleading guilty to all charges at Northallerton Magistrates Court on the 17th December 2018.
As a result of his fraudulent activity his mother was awarded £770.61 in Council Tax Reduction, which she was not entitled to. His Mother was unaware of her Son’s fraudulent application.
Today he was sentenced to a fine of £1,250. Besides repayment arrangements, he was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £125 and court costs of £252.00.
Day 5 – Reporting Fraud
Do you know who to contact if you suspect fraud is occurring?
Veritau provide Counter Fraud services to City of York Council, North Yorkshire County Council and Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale and Selby District Councils. We are a group of qualified investigators able to deal with allegations of criminality against the council as well as support civil and internal/disciplinary investigations. You can call us to discuss concerns or make a referral.
No referral is a waste of time. We are able to make initial enquires to help determine if your suspicions are founded and undertake a full investigation. Our team can gather evidence from many sources conduct interviews under caution that may be used in criminal proceedings. The most serious of our cases often lead to court action against those involved.
Staff and the public can report their concerns to Veritau by:
Telephone: 0800 9179 247
Post: Veritau – Fraud team
If in doubt – raise it!
Social care fraud is not a type of crime which may immediately spring to mind when the word ‘fraud’ is mentioned. Adult Social Care has been identified as one of the 3 greatest fraud risk areas nationally, according to the CIPFA 2017-18 Annual Fraud Tracker. It also estimates the national cost of social care fraud in the last financial year as £6.7 million. Investigations across North Yorkshire by Veritau (the council’s Counter Fraud Team) reveal the average value of all social care fraud cases that they have investigated to be £27,437; with some individual cases involving losses of over £100,000.
You may find through interactions with customers that you become aware of something that may constitute a social care fraud or safeguarding concern for their wellbeing.
There are a number of types of social care fraud:
This involves a service user having money stolen or misappropriated, often by someone who holds Power of Attorney for them and/or has access to their money. The funds are then no longer available to pay for their care, so the council has to step in to cover the cost. In a recent case the daughter and son-in-law of an elderly woman who had £160,000 stolen were each jailed for 2 years.
Direct Payments are given to those in need of care to manage themselves and allow independence in the process. Investigations have identified where Direct Payments have been abused by the intended recipient, their family or DP Agent. A case investigated by Veritau saw the son of the service user steal thousands of pounds of a Direct Payment to gamble and buy a Rolex watch.
If someone has more than £23,250 in savings, they are not entitled to local authority funding for their care. Sometimes people are able to conceal their capital and hide additional money from assessors to obtain funding where they are not entitled.
Deprivation of capital
Deprivation of capital is where someone knows they will need care and chooses to ‘gift’ their money to family members, friends, or anyone else. This depletes their funds in order to receive publically funded care, contrary to the rules of the Care Act.
Business rates constitute a significant portion of local authority funding. Proposed changes to the retention of business rates by local authorities mean that the amount of business rates collected has an ever increasing impact on council budgets. Currently local authorities retain 50% of rates collected however there are proposed plans to increase this to 75% rates retention in 2020 with several authorities are piloting a full 100% rates retention scheme.
Council Tax collection is a key component of income to local authorities that pays for frontline services and supports those in need. Residents may be eligible for discounts or exemptions on their liability, for example if they are the sole adult resident or are in full time education. Fraud can occur when those not entitled to a reduction deliberately misapply for a discount or exemption.
With public funding being stretched, it is as important as ever to identify and combat fraud to prevent losses. Veritau – the council owned company that investigates fraud against the public sector – will be highlighting some of the frauds affecting our communities during International Fraud Awareness Week (11th – 17th November 2018).
30 October 2018
Malton woman prosecuted for council tax fraud
A female living in Malton has been successfully prosecuted by Ryedale District Council. The woman had claimed Council Tax Reduction since 2013, based on her family’s low income. However, she failed to notify Ryedale District Council that she was working as a self employed cleaner in 2015 and again in 2016. She also failed to declare that her husband had started self employment early in 2014.
23 October 2018
Couple Sentenced for Blue Badge Fraud in York
An investigation carried out by Veritau on behalf of the City of York Council resulted in a prosecution for Disabled Blue Badge fraud.
On 23 October, York Magistrates sentenced a couple from Malton to a 12-month conditional discharge each and ordered each to pay £200 in costs and £20 in surcharges.
The defendant, from Malton, was found using a family member’s Blue Badge in York city centre in April 2018. He later provided false information to the council on the matter. His wife was also found to have provided false information to the council regarding her husband’s actions.
13 August 2018
Son gets 15 months prison for stealing £16,200 from his elderly parents
An investigation has uncovered and led to the prosecution of a £16,200 theft by a son from his elderly parents.
Carried out by Veritau on behalf of the City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police, the investigation found that the son of a York couple in their 90s, had stolen money from them in 2013.
30 July 2018
Single Person Discount Data Match Prosecution
Richmondshire District Council’s fraud team has uncovered and successfully prosecuted a serious case of fraud which deprived the public purse of over £2,000.
This was the first case of its kind to be discovered through a data matching exercise conducted by the council’s fraud provider, Veritau Ltd. The exercise compared records from multiple sources and revealed that a second individual was linked to a property which had been declared as being occupied by a sole adult.
Veritau Shortlisted for IRRV Awards 2018
We are extremely pleased to annouce that Veritau's Fraud Team have been nominated for an award from the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation for the third year in a row. Veritau have been nominated for two awards: Excellence in Counter Fraud, and Excellence in Innovation. The Fraud Team are excited to attend the IRRV Awards on 10th October.
12 March 2018
Richmondshire District Council tackles case of benefit fraud
An investigation carried out by the Richmondshire District Council has uncovered and successfully prosecuted a serious case of fraud in the town, which deprived the public purse of just over £3,500.
A woman of Honeypot Road, Brompton-On-Swale, claimed Council Tax Reduction for a number of years. An investigation into her claim was conducted by Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service, following information that her and her husband held capital that was not disclosed and that her claim was fraudulent.
19 February 2018
Tenancy fraud awareness week has come around again.
If someone. . . .
- Sublets or abandons a council or housing association property
- Provides false information when applying for housing
- Tries to purchase through Right To Buy when they are not entitled
- Lies to gain succession on a property
- Accepts payments to exchange properties
Please click the links below for more information.
|Tenancy Fraud Awareness Week||Tenancy Fraud Poster|
26 January 2018
2018 Shortlist - Public Finance Innovation Awards | Public Finance Innovation Awards
We are delighted to reveal the 2018 Public Finance Innovation Awards shortlist. Hard work, innovation and dedication to pushing boundaries of excellence within the profession and industry characterised this year’s entries, our distinguished judges agreed.
28th November 2017
Ryedale District Council uncovers £6,000 fraud
An investigation carried out by Ryedale District Council has uncovered and successfully prosecuted a serious case of fraud in the town, which deprived the public purse of almost £6,000.
A female of Firthland Road, Pickering, claimed Council Tax Support and a Single Person’s Discount as a single person for many years. An investigation into her claims was conducted by Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service, following information that she had an undeclared partner living with her and that her claim was fraudulent.
During the course of the investigation the woman was interviewed under caution and admitted that her partner had lived with her since 2011 and that she hadn’t declared this to the council.
The investigation concluded with her pleading guilty to all charges at Scarborough Magistrates Court on 28th November 2017.
As a result of her fraudulent activity she was awarded £4,514.37 in Council Tax Reduction. She also received a discount of £1,265.40 against her council tax bills that she was not entitled to.
She was sentenced to a 12 month community order with a requirement to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £150 towards the council’s legal costs.