Older people worst culprits when it comes to benefit fraud

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London's over-40s are the people most likely to get into trouble over benefit fraud, with women more likely to be charged than men.

The last year's records of fraud defence lawyers DPP Law show that more than two thirds of cases involved people over 40. The most honest age group was 18 to 24, with just one case that went to court.

SEE ALSO: 'Single mum' benefits cheat caught after mentioning marriage online


See also: Benefits cheat caught working as a binman



The data also showed a fair split between the sexes, with women slightly ahead at 52.

The biggest hot spot for benefit fraud was Greater London, with the area accounting for around 43% of the total. Merseyside was in second place with 35%.

However, in a third of cases that went to court, the person charged got off.

"Our solicitors have worked on a lot of benefit fraud cases over the years and these results highlight the broad spectrum of these types of proceedings," says Stuart Nolan, managing director of DPP Law.

"Many benefit fraud cases are often the case of overpayment, which can happen without an individual's intent to defraud. We've also seen a lot of the clients we have defended found not guilty. So, in the arena of benefit fraud, there are a lot of shades of grey."

It's the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that's in charge of benefit fraud investigations, with many staff located in local Jobcentre offices. Local authorities also carry out housing benefit and Council Tax benefit fraud investigations.

Those found guilty of benefit fraud are usually ordered to pay back the cash - and may also be hit with an extra penalty of between £350 and £5,000, as well as having their benefits cut or stopped.

Many people are caught via tip-offs on the hotline - like businesswoman Nicola Alcock earlier this year. Claiming to be living alone, she netted more than £81,000 in child tax credits and housing benefit over a period of five years.

However, she'd been daft enough to post the fqact that she was married on her Barking Mad business website - and was shopped to the authorities.

And just last week, George Beacham was caught working as a binman after claiming he 'could only walk two yards in 15 minutes'.

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Victims of scams and fraud
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In March 2015 an American woman who was only identified as 'Sarah' went on the popular US television programme the Dr Phil Show to reveal she had sent $1.4 million to a man that she had never met. Although she was certain she wasn't being scammed, her cousin made her go on the programme because she was convinced it was a scam. Find out more about the story here.
Maggie Surridge employed Lee Slocombe to lay a £350 deck in her garden in March 2015. However Slocombe used a combination of lies to scam Surridge out of thousands of pounds. He told Surridge that the front and back walls were dangerous and needed rebuilding and also conned her into building a porch, all for the cost of £8,500. Read the full story here.
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Sylvia Kneller, 76, was conned out of £200,000 over the space of 56 years thanks to scam mail. The pensioner became addicted to responding to the fraudsters, convinced that she would one day win a fortune. Ms Kneller would receive letters claiming she had won large sums of money but she needed to send processing fees to claim her prize. Learn about the full story here
Leslie Jubb, 103, became Britain's oldest scam victim in August last year when he was conned out of £60,000 after being sent an endless stream of catalogues promising prizes in return for purchasing overpriced goods. The extent of this con was discovered when Mr Jubb temporarily moved into a care home and his family discovered what he had lost. Find out more about this story here
Stephen Cox won more than £100,000 on the National Lottery in 2003 but has been left with nothing after falling victim to two conmen. The 63-year-old was pressured into handing over £60,000 to the men who told him his roof needed fixing. They walked him into banks and building societies persuading him to part with £80,000 of cash while doing no work in return. See the full story here
Last year the Metropolitan Police released CCTV footage of a woman who had £250 stolen at a cash machine in Dagenham. The scam involved two men distracting the woman at the machine, pressing the button for £250 then taking the money and running away. Read about the full story here.
Rebecca Ferguson shot to fame as a runner up on the X-Factor in 2010 but fell victim to a scam artist last year when someone she had believed to be a friend conned her out of £43,000. Rachel Taylor befriended the singer in 2012 and claimed to be a qualified accountant, so Ferguson allowed her to look after her finances. Instead of doing this Taylor stole £43,000 from the Liverpudlian singer. Read more here
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