Only one fraudster has so far been prosecuted for preying on claimants and stealing their universal credit (UC) advance payments, the government has admitted.
Back in July we reported on what had become a huge problem of claimants being defrauded of UC payments, with even the DWP admitting that a devastating 10% of all UC advance payments may be for fraudulent claims.
Fraudsters obtain claimants details by pretending they are applying for a government grant for them. They then apply for UC on the claimant’s behalf and pocket most or all of the advance payment.
According to messages on a private DWP board, fraudsters are mocking the DWP by making successful claims with ridiculous details, including:
Children named Ha, Ha and Ha;
Children named Lisa, Bart and Homer – of Simpsons fame;
Landlords called Harry Kane;
A 19 year old student with six blind children.
One DWP official claimed that in their region 200-300 claims a day are fictitious, with £1,200 to £1,500 in advance payments for each claim.
Yet, with many thousands of such fraudulent claims having been made, the DWP have admitted that they are investigating just 107 individuals in connection with the scam.
Worse still, so far only one person has actually been referred to the crown prosecution service (CPS). They were successfully prosecuted, but so far no other cases have even got as far as the CPS.
The DWP makes much of its National Benefit Fraud Hotline aimed at targeting claimants – very often absolutely unfairly.
Yet to have put just one con artist preying on claimants before the courts so far is dismal and will do little to deter criminals from continuing to defraud claimants.