Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Council Fraud Busters To Feature On BBC Television Series

A benefit fraud investigation that recovered thousands of pounds for taxpayers in South Cambridgeshire will feature on a BBC television series this week.

The BBC’s Matt Allwright interviewed fraud investigators and senior politicians from South Cambridgeshire District Council for the Saints and Scroungers programme to get an insight into how the Council identified a major fraud and took action to recover overpaid benefits.

The case featured on the programme involved tens of thousands of pounds of overpaid benefits claimed over a number of years from two councils and the Department for Work and Pensions.

During the programme viewers will hear interviews carried out by Council investigators as they gathered evidence and built up a case to prove the woman in question was claiming money as single parent but she actually had a partner living with her who was in full time work.

All of the overpaid benefits due to South Cambridgeshire District Council together with full legal costs in instigating the prosecution were later recovered.

Saints and Scroungers will be aired on BBC One at 11am on Thursday 7 November and shown again at 7.30am on BBC Two the following day.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “The vast majority of people claiming benefits are honest and in genuine need but fraud is not a victimless crime as it takes money out of the system that could be better spent on our residents. We took part in this programme to show the variety of ways we can track down fraudulent claims and hope it will send a strong and clear message to the small minority who try to cheat the system.”

Chris Freeman, Fraud Manager at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We have a wide range of methods to identify fraud but we need residents to continue to report their concerns. Fraudsters rely on people being reluctant to pick up the phone and report their suspicions and I would encourage anyone who suspects fraud to call us and we’ll do our best to put things right.”

Anyone suspecting benefit fraud should contact South Cambridgeshire District Council on 0800 7311 892 or email benefitfraud@scambs.gov.uk.

Callers can remain anonymous when reporting suspected benefit fraud.