Council cracks down on benefit cheats

Cheshire East Council’s crackdown on benefit cheats has led to more than £1m being clawed back and more than 50 people being convicted by courts this year. Since January 1st 2014, the authority’s benefit investigations team has uncovered £1.315m in fraudulently obtained benefits – which is to be repaid by the offenders – and achieved 56 convictions. Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “A figure of £1.315m is a significant amount of money that is successfully being reclaimed for our taxpayers. “These latest prosecutions, and others like them, send out a very clear message that we are an enforcing Council and will take robust action to protect our communities from those who abuse the rules at the expense of taxpayers. “Benefit fraud will not be tolerated. In the last financial year, we successfully prosecuted more than 40 benefit cheats and to date this year we have uncovered and cracked down successfully on 56 offenders. “I congratulate our enforcement teams on their hard work on taxpayers’ behalf. The message is clear: people who cheat the system will be brought to justice.” In addition to the 56 benefit fraud convictions, a further 27 people were handed financial penalties, rather than prosecuted, and 26 people were issued with cautions.  

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