Tax and Benefit Fraud Investigations
We will advise and act for you throughout the whole process, from the investigation through to trial and appeals. We understand how stressful these investigations are, so we seek to reassure our clients as much as possible by providing clear, detailed advice about every aspect of your situation, including what are the best courses of action for you.
Benefit Fraud Accusations
A benefit fraud investigation is often the first encounter a person has with the criminal justice system and is consequently a scary and confusing experience. The nature of these investigations means they will often come in times of financial struggle. Obtaining legal advice will ease you through the process as much as is possible.
Unfortunately, the investigation process can be quite intrusive, with the investigating authority obtaining bank statements and other documents that date back a number of years. In addition, investigators may visit your home and question you and any other occupants.
You may be investigated by the Department for Work & Pensions or a local authority. An investigation can lead to criminal proceedings. The type of benefit received will determine who brings the prosecution. You may have a choice as to whether you are tried in front of a judge or a judge and jury. To be convicted, the prosecution must prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that you intended to receive the benefit knowing you were not entitled to it. If you did not know you were not entitled to the benefit you received and told the truth on application forms, you may have a defence. The Court in which your case is heard will depend on the amount that is alleged to have been over-claimed. The possible sentence will also depend on this amount.
We can provide advice whether you are dealing with an interview under caution, the Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court or Court of Appeal. We understand the sensitive nature of these investigations and the impact of the investigations and potential charges. We offer clear, practical advice and reassurance to clients during a stressful time.
Depending on your income, you may be eligible for public funding for your case, although we do not undertake publicly funded work.
To talk to us about tax and benefit fraud offending, please call our Bayswater office on freephone 0800 524 4709 to make an appointment or fill in our contact form.