Council scores major victory in fraud campaign
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Legal
Council scores major victory in fraud campaignImage: Gavel via Shutterstock
Hambleton District Council has scored a major victory in its fight against benefit fraud.
An investigation into the finances of a Northallerton man convicted last year of illegally obtaining benefits of almost £50,000 revealed he had benefited from crime to the tune of over £291,000.
Last month, Teesside Crown Court was told that Andrew Cason had £88,700 in ‘realisable assets’ and made a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The court ordered that £49,900 of that be paid to the council as compensation for the benefits the crook had unlawfully claimed.
The remainder will be divided between the Home Office, the council and the courts Service to fund the prevention, detection and investigation of crime in the community.
“This is a great victory for the council – and for our fight against benefit fraud,” said council leader councillor Mark Robson.
“It endorses our stance that we will not tolerate people who take money away from people who really need it. No matter what their age or circumstances we will not tolerate it – people cannot abuse the system.
“Our pursuit of this man has revealed far greater profits from crime – and as a result not only have we as a council recovered a large sum of money but the district will also benefit from a pot of money to help fight this crime.”
The council’s prosecution of Cason for benefit fraud in June 2013 led to a confiscation investigation.
Cason, 40, of Brompton had pleaded guilty to obtaining almost £50,000 in benefits he was not entitled to and received 18 months imprisonment.
The criminal investigation uncovered evidence of undeclared bank accounts holding over £80,000 belonging to the thief, with the money in Cason’s bank accounts and his other assets restrained pending the outcome of the Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation investigation.
Investigators established that he had received a considerable amount of income through his accounts from an unidentified source.
Cason must pay the confiscation order amount within 60 days of the court hearing, with a two-year prison sentence set if he defaults on this payment.