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Feb 12 2014

Harrow Council Cracks Down on Fraud

harrow_council_logoA week long crack down on council fraud has unearthed suspected cases amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Council’s Anti-Fraud Week saw four people arrested for suspected benefit fraud, three council houses freed up, and two disabled parking badges seized for suspected misuse.

Harrow Council, in partnership with a number of agencies such as the police and the Department of Work and Pensions, held a string of operations between February 3 and 7, aimed at cracking down on the four areas of council-related fraud.

Officers carried out three visits to homes where residents were suspected of benefit fraud, and seven council properties where it was suspected that the property was being illegally sublet or was not the main home of the claimant.

They also visited Stanmore Broadway to hunt out people who were fraudulently using disabled parking badges and visited 10 addresses where individuals are in receipt of financial support for social care arrangements. Investigations into these cases are now taking place as well as two other investigations into insurance claims against the council which arose as part of the week.

The team carries out similar operations all year round to crack down on fraud and in the past year identified actual fraud and prevented fraud losses to the tune of £1million. The four areas where fraud is carried out are:

  • disabled parking badge fraud, where someone displays a badge they are not entitled to display.
  • false claims and unreported changes in circumstances for housing benefit and council tax support.
  • housing tenancy fraud, where someone does not use their council housing as their main home or sublets it.
  • social care and personal budgets fraud, where people misuse or fraudulently claim money the Council gives them to spend on personal care.

As well as taking action, the week also focused on raising awareness of the cost of fraud to the Council and the taxpayers. In the last year, the Council identified actual fraud and prevented fraud losses to the tune of £1million. That included 25 cases of housing/council tax benefit fraud and social care direct payment fraud amounting to £315,000.

Leader of Harrow Council Cllr Susan Hall said:

“Our anti-fraud team are doing a brilliant job and have shown what can be achieved in just one week – unearthing cases which could amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds. It doesn’t stop there and they will continue all year round to bring fraudsters to justice. Fraud is the same as stealing from your neighbour, as it means the Council has less money to spend on the services residents need and deserve.”

She continued: “We will continue to use all our powers to stamp out this unfair and unacceptable behaviour, and I would urge any residents who have concerns that fraud may be taking place in Harrow to contact us. It’s only by working together that this vile behaviour can be stamped out.”

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10 comments

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  1. Mr T Mills

    Why are fines so low?

  2. Susan Hall

    Mr. T Mills I could not agree more!

  3. j p hobbs

    What about Harrows fraud against the motorist , you all ignore it and the STEALTH CAMERAS FRAUD THEFT DECIET LIES CHEATING .TO NAME A FEW .

  4. Harrow Dude

    Sort it out then Susie…You are the Leader…

  5. j p hobbs

    Give Harrow drivers a break or ay least a fair deal , my regularly serviced car has just had two new rear springs and two new tyres the old ones were not worn but had broken walls , my mechanic says all done by pot holes

  6. sonoo malkani

    Please let us not make a joke about fining serious criminals that these fraudsters are.They need to feel the full force of the Law and be actively discouraged from such unfair and deplorable practices.

  7. Mike McFadden

    Hooray and well done. Fraud from council funds seems huge in what was Nu-Labour ‘s run councils because of the tick-box-culture that allowed things to go unchecked. Well done Susan.

  8. Susan Hall

    The Courts decide on the fines, sadly we have no control of that

  9. Beatty Road

    Here’s hoping a case in our block is being looked into. Fraud reported to Housing officer on a few occasions but tenant still in situ

  10. Susan Hall

    Please send me details and I will ensure it is looked into susanmaryhall@gmail.com

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