EAST Lindsey District Council says it has caught 72 benefits cheats over the past nine months.
In total those caught had claimed over £320,000 they were not entitled to from taxpayers, the biggest cheat from Alford claiming £58,325 too much for failing to declare the presence of a partner in the household. The council says this person was successfully prosecuted last year.
In East Lindsey 16,818 people currently claim benefits totalling approximately £40million per year, the majority being legitimate claims.
The council is appealing to local people to come forward if they suspect someone to be claiming benefits they are not entitled to by calling the 24-hour fraud hotline on 0800 002 008.
Reports can also be made at www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/.
The Council, which works closely with the government’s Department for Work and Pensions, has a dedicated Fraud Team, which undertakes regular checks on all benefit claims being made to ensure discrepancies are identified for further investigation.
Typical examples of benefit fraud include people working but not declaring this when claiming benefit; people claiming a single person’s Council tax discount when not living alone; and people not declaring their correct level of income, savings or capital when making a benefit claim.
Coun John Upsall, Portfolio Holder for Finance at the council, said: “The majority of people are honest and claim what they are entitled to but a small number of people continue to cheat the system and rip off every taxpayer in our district with their dishonesty.
“In East Lindsey this will not be tolerated and we will take action against those committing fraud.”