Tag Archives: fraud

Universal Credit boss falsely claimed £18,000 of Universal Credit

The Tory-run benefit (ha ha!) system is already stacked against honest claimants – and now we see that at least one DWP boss has been cheating the system for personal gain.

What chance do honest claimants have when the officials running the benefit cannot be trusted?

And you can bet that the Tory government will do exactly what Tory governments always do when faced with proof of corruption. They’ll talk a lot about changing the system so it doesn’t happen again…

And then they’ll do nothing.

A woman whose job it was to decide on who was eligible for Universal Credit falsely claimed £18,000 of Universal Credit.

Rebecca Hanway abused her position as a case manager to defraud huge sums of money from her employers, the Department of Work and Pensions.

A court heard that the 30-year-old, from Wigan, misrepresented her own circumstances on two Universal Credit (UC) applications and hijacked five other identities submitting a further five fraudulent UC claims in their names.

When she created these claims, Hanway the gave her own bank account details so she would receive the Universal Credit Advance Payments.

She also diverted advance payments from three other UC claims into her own bank account.

Over a period of seven months, from September 2018 until April 2019, Hanway fraudulently claimed £18, 260.95 of public money that should have gone to other claimants.

Source: Universal Credit boss caught falsely claiming £18,000 of Universal Credit – Liverpool Echo

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Tories could undermine themselves with ‘voter ID’ plan that isn’t entirely corrupt

 Bad news: the Conservatives are planning another attempt to introduce ‘voter ID’ to elections. Historically, their attempts have been corrupt.

Good news: they may have shot themselves in the foot with a plan that has good elements that may be separated from the vote-rigging parts by Parliament.

Let’s look at the historic aspect of this:

The most recent Tory attempts to address voter fraud have been attempts to force people to provide photo-identification at polling stations – prompting criticism that they were trying to obstruct supporters of Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, who don’t normally carry such identification, from voting. This has been borne out to a large degree by the results of pilot projects in certain constituencies.

They did not address fraudulent postal votes in any way. This also led to criticism that the Tories had ignored the only voting method that has produced a significant volume of electoral fraud in recent years – because any such fraud is likely to boost their own electoral score.

Boris Johnson’s new ‘voter ID’ plan seems to tackle both issues – with an attempt to address postal vote fraud that might be worthwhile, alongside the demand for photographic identification at the polling station. It also addresses the complaint of voter disenfranchisement by proposing that local councils issue free photographic ID to anybody who needs it, at a cost of up to £20 million at every election.

The latter proposal is entirely pointless. There is no fraud at polling stations worth mentioning. The record shows only one conviction for voter impersonation at the last election.

Good news: Parliament could separate the pointless and expensive demand to show photo ID at the polling station from the worthwhile attempt to address fraud in postal votes, leaving us with a decent piece of legislation that does not corruptly improve the Tories’ chance at a general election.

But that is supposing that Boris Johnson and his Conservative government intends anything in the Queen’s Speech next week to actually become law – and that is a major stretch of credibility.

Shall we put a pin in this and see what happens?

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Grilling for DWP boss over Universal Credit – ‘the most error-riddled of all benefits’

After the DWP’s recent propaganda campaign on Universal Credit “myth-busting”, is it planning to run another, warning about fraud?

That is one of the questions sent to Peter Schofield, the senior civil servant at the Department for Work and Pensions after it was revealed that tens of millions of pounds are being fraudulently claimed in Universal Credit loans.

According to the Parliament.uk website, error and fraud at the DWP are now at their highest levels since records began – according to its own 2018-19 accounts.

Frank Field, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions committee, has written to Mr Schofield with a series of questions about this matter and the revelations behind it.

He said: “In the Department’s fantastical predictions, Universal Credit was supposed to reduce error. Instead it is the most error-riddled of all benefits, and it’s only getting worse.

“DWP wasted billions of pounds of public money on error last year alone but that doesn’t begin to count the human cost. When will DWP get a grip on this escalating problem?”

The letter itself asks:

  • How much money the DWP has paid out in fraudulent Universal Credit advances – and how much it has recovered.
  • When Mr Schofield became aware of concerns about this fraud from frontline staff.
  • What actions his department has taken to prevent this fraud – and what he plans to do in the future.
  • Whether he is satisfied that the department does enough to listen to the concerns of staff and act on them promptly.

And he also raises a question about unfair treatment of the victims of this type of scam.

He writes: “Even when the department is informed that a claim for Universal Credit was fraudulent and made without the claimant’s knowledge or consent, it seems that claimants are being prevented from returning to their legacy benefits—even if they are worse off on Universal Credit.

“What operational guidance do you give to your staff about the handling of cases in which a claim for Universal Credit is made fraudulently, without the claimant’s knowledge or consent?

“What is the legal basis for refusing to allow claimants whose legacy benefits have been stopped because a fraudulent Universal Credit claim has been made in their name from returning to their legacy benefits?”

Tricky questions!

I’m sure we all look forward to Mr Schofield’s answers.

Source: Chair questions DWP on reports of UC fraud – News from Parliament – UK Parliament

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Recall petition means possible by-election for Tory MP after criminal conviction over fake expenses

Chris Davies: Behind bars – altbough he won’t be jailed over his fraudulent expenses claim.

It’s happening: Voters in Brecon and Radnorshire will be asked to sign a petition demanding a by-election after their MP was convicted of expenses fraud.

Chris Davies – who also happens to be This Writer’s MP – was fined £1,500 and ordered to do 50 hours’ community service after he was found guilty of submitting fake expenses invoices for £700 of landscape photographs to decorate his office.

The “recall petition” will trigger a by-election if it is signed by 10 per cent of the constituency’s electorate or more.

The comments of Mr Justice Edis, when sentencing the MP, were damning: “It seems shocking that when confronted with a simple accounting problem, you thought to forge documents. That is an extraordinary thing for a man with your position and your background to do.

“There was no error here. What you did was done quite deliberately and it must have taken some time to create your fake documents. MPs ask the public to place their trust in them and in an election that’s what happens.

“They become the guardians of the nation’s democracy and depend on the public holding them in high esteem. Any significant betrayal of that standard is serious and crosses the custody threshold.

“The recall process may end your political career – that’s part of the machinery.”

Chris Davies has turned out to be utterly useless as a representative of the people. His actions have shown that he was interested only in serving himself.

This Writer will be signing the petition. I hope many other voters in Brecon and Radnorshire will also want a proper MP – for a change.

Source: Tory MP Chris Davies could face byelection after fake expenses claim | Politics | The Guardian


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Davies guilty of expenses fraud. Time for a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire

Guilty: Chris Davies.

Chris Davies, Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, has admitted two offences of expenses fraud. Now the people of Brecon and Radnorshire can have their fun.

We (the Brecon and Radnorshire electorate) may now petition for the MP to be recalled and for a by-election in the constituency.

If at least 10 per cent of registered electors sign a recall petition, we can have an election and get rid of him.

The petition should be triggered automatically, and it will be for Brecon and Radnorshire’s Returning Officer – and also Powys County Council’s chief executive – Dr Caroline Turner to make it available to the public.

If it isn’t, Brecon and Radnorshire electors can register their concern by contacting Dr Turner via the council on 01597 826000.

There should be an announcement by the House of Commons Speaker’s Office, too. You can email [email protected] to ask about it, too.

Source: Tory MP Chris Davies guilty of false expenses claim – BBC News


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MP who claimed Vox Political writer supported anti-Semitism is charged with expenses fraud

Chris Davies: Brecon and Radnorshire’s cartoon MP.

People have been celebrating this all over my Twitter feed today, and I can’t say I blame them. But I have to insert a note of caution.

Yes, Chris Davies, Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, member of the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory eurosceptics and Conservative Friend of Israel who gleefully joined in the accusations when This Writer was falsely accused of anti-Semitism, has been charged with two counts of making a false instrument and one of providing false or misleading information for allowance claims, after allegations he falsified two invoices in support of parliamentary expenses claims.

(That’s expenses fraud, to you and me.)

He will appear before magistrates in Westminster on March 22.

But we all need to remember he has been charged, not convicted.

He is entitled to a fair trial (although that’s more than I had, with regard to the anti-Semitism claims).

If he is found guilty of any or all of the offences, then the voters of Brecon and Radnorshire can have a lot of fun. The reason?

We will be able to petition for his removal as MP, and for a by-election to be held in the the constituency.

If at least 10 per cent of registered electors sign a recall petition, we can have an election and get rid of him.

As far as I’m concerned, that can’t happen soon enough. But it will only happen if justice is served so I must appeal for everyone to withhold their opinions until after the verdict.


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One MP is acquitted as a file on another goes to the CPS. When will the Tories learn how to handle cash?

Acquitted: Craig Mackinlay, pictured here on the election campaign trail in 2015.

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay has been cleared of breaking expenses rules in the 2015 general election.

Party worker Marion Little carried the can for falsifying election expenses instead.

She was said to have been “carried away by her conviction” that the party must defeat Nigel Farage in the 2015 general election. A jury at Southwark Crown Court found her guilty of two counts of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007 – but acquitted her of a third count of the same offence.

She was given a nine-month suspended sentence and fined £5,000.

Mr Mackinlay had been accused of failing to declare spending of up to £66,600 – which would have meant he had spent more than double the legal limit – a strict £52,000.

His election agent Nathan Gray, 29, from Hawkhurst, Kent, was earlier acquitted of making a false election expenses declaration.

Sentencing Little, the judge Mr Justice Edis accused Conservative party headquarters of “a culture of convenient self-deception” and “inadequate supervision” which allowed Little to break the law.

Mr Edis said Little falsified documents then presented them to Mackinlay and his election agent Nathan Gray for signing, which “they did so in good faith not knowing what she had done”.

The judge said she was “carried away by her conviction” that defeating Farage was an “overwhelmingly important political objective”.

So there y’go. The Tories had inadequate supervision which allowed them to deceive themselves, signing false documents in good faith. Okay?

And now the police have passed a file on alleged expenses irregularities by This Writer’s MP, Chris Davies, to the Crown Prosecution Service.

It seems he was solely responsible for handling expenses of this kind and is claiming he made an “honest mistake” in claiming for furniture and pictures to decorate his constituency office. Some of us might question why he needed to buy decorations using money from the public purse.

Mr Davies is accused of manually creating two invoices for £450 and £250 rather than submitting the full £700 claim for the pictures by computer.

He has previously said that he repaid the £450 sum, which was charged to a start-up fund for new MPs to set up offices.

Will the court agree, or find that he has done enough to make amends for his “honest mistake”?

We’ll see.

But one thing is clear: People are getting tired of hearing about alleged expenses irregularities connected to the Conservative Party.

If these people can’t keep their books properly, they’ve got no business being in elected office.

And certainly no business running a nation’s economy.

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Watch this short film about the way the police target disabled people at protests

Frack site: The well in Lancashire contributes to global warming and climate change.

It seems I have opened a can of worms with This Site’s article about Lancashire police reporting disabled anti-fracking protesters to the Department for Work and Pensions.

I have been contacted by a representative of Gathering Place Films, which has been filming over the past five years for a long form documentary about fracking in the UK. This person told me, “What we have observed while filming, around the policing of this movement, has been quite surprising.”

The film is entitled Targeting Protesters and its publicity material states: “The police have identified and targeted prominent anti-fracking campaigners, key protest organisers and invariably protesters with disabilities – in order to undermine or neutralise their effectiveness in challenging the interests of the shale oil and gas industry.”

See the evidence for yourself:

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Police admit reporting disabled anti-fracking protesters to DWP – to have their benefits cancelled?

Discrimination: The man on the floor is Nick Sheldrick, who is paralysed from the waist down. Protesters say police pushed him out of his wheelchair during an anti-fracking protest in Lancashire during July 2017. Police said they were moving him out of the way of a lorry, but they would, wouldn’t they?

Is this fascism?

People with disabilities who exercised their right to protest against fracking (in accordance with the United Nations convention) are being reported to the Department for Work and Pensions by Lancashire police, apparently in the hope that their benefits will be cancelled as punishment for daring to leave their homes.

According to Disability News Service, police forces have been accused of targeting disabled people involved in anti-fracking protests with violence [see the image above for a possible example] – and now protesters in Lancashire have accused their local police of passing information to the DWP.

DWP practices mean anyone investigated for fraud has their benefits stopped before any guilt or innocence is proved. This has prompted some to say that malicious prompting of disabled people for benefit fraud – without evidence – should be considered a hate crime:

It seems Lancashire Police had no such evidence, despite their tweeted claim:

Information to suggest fraud may be being committed, is it? John Pring of DNS asked the obvious question:

But what “clearly suggests fraud may be being committed”, if disabled people are out at a protest? Tom Artingstall put the question in its baldest possible terms: “So, to be clear, @LancsPolice officially consider disabled persons being outside their homes to ‘clearly suggest that fraud may be being committed’? Please confirm or clarify your official position.”

I have seen no response to this question. In its absence, members of the public have been led to draw their own conclusions.

Katie de Long, for example, pointed out: “You are encouraging officers to exercise rampant ableist bias in the hopes of frightening disabled people out of protesting. You can’t tell someone’s med status from looking at them- and encouraging reassessment of benefits is a form of retaliation. Shame on you, every one.”

FeistyWeevil picked up on the wording used by the police spokesperson: “Clearly suggests? How? Example: To be eligible for PIP a claimant’s impairment(s) has to affect their ability to complete an activity on more than 50% of days in a 12 month period, not ALL the time. You are meddling in something you have no place in out of spite. Unprofessional.”

Evander suggested: “So you aren’t “qualified to make any medical assessments” but still decide that simply being outside as a disabled person “clearly suggests fraud”? You know nothing about the sheer amount of diseases and conditions, including ones that fluctuate.”

And This Site’s old friend Paula Peters concluded: “There is a thing called the Right to Protest as ratified by the UN convention. The actions of your police force & officers are horrendous and disgusting. Attacking disabled protestors then reporting them Is the lowest of the low. No wonder you are called the enemy of the state.”

There is more to this story than meets the eye.

Consider the following thread by Mark Brown:

“As a disabled person your life is subject to others’ tolerance.” “Disabled people and people with mental health difficulties have been pushed to the edge of [our] community.” “As a result of 15 years of anti-benefits rhetoric, [the] public feels it has [the] right to subject those it does not like to scrutiny and try [to] grass them up maliciously.”

Isn’t that exactly the kind of “othering” that happens in fascist states? Minorities to be persecuted are treated as somehow less than the favoured majority and it is intimated that they should not enjoy the same rights as the rest of society. So, when they are persecuted by the public, the authorities turn a blind eye. And when they are persecuted by the authorities, who will stand up for them?

Mr Brown concluded: “In a different culture, one free from the suspicion of Disabled people, it would not cross anyone’s mind to even question someone’s right to benefits because they were demonstrating. In this one, it’s too many peoples first thought. ‘How dare you be in need and also a person?'”

The Labour Party has challenged the Conservative government on this attitude, likening it to the “hostile environment” policy inflicted on people from foreign countries who were invited into the UK to rebuild our nation after the ravages of World War II, and then persecuted them when Theresa May decided they were no longer needed.

And, as Marsha de Cordova pointed out in Parliament, the effects of this policy are more far-reaching than an attempt to cause trouble for a few disabled protesters:

So, again, I ask: Is this fascism? I think so. And I wonder – it isn’t very many years since the UK stood as a beacon of hope against fascist states and the discrimination – the persecution – they promote. How did we allow our nation to become the enemy?

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If Esther McVey isn’t part of a dodgy campaigning company, why tell police not to investigate it for fraud?

Esther McVey: Why did she tell police to stop investigating the company that listed her as its secretary?

Remember earlier in November, when then-Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey was revealed to be registered at Companies House as the Secretary of an apparently-dodgy campaigning organisation?

Ms McVey was named at Companies House as the secretary of Loyal Scots Company Ltd, a political campaign funding group allegedly worth £20 million. She had not notified the House of Commons of this financial interest. As secretary, she should be receiving correspondence to the company from HM Revenue and Customs, and may have broken the law by failing to file legally-required documents.

She said the person who brought the connection to public attention – Alex Tiffin – had not checked the facts, and that she had written to Companies House because her name had been used without her knowledge.

But it seems Companies House has done nothing and – according to Mr Tiffin – Ms McVey herself told police not to investigate after he alerted them to the alleged fraud:

Now, why would Companies House not do the former, and why would Ms McVey do the latter?

(I like the – deliberate? – mistake in the address listed in the tweet above, in which Wilmslow is listed as being in Denmark rather than Cheshire. Of course the number of the building on the street, together with the postcode, would be enough to ensure that any correspondence reached its intended destination.)

Given the information available, perhaps the police should be investigating the activities of Ms McVey, rather than Loyal Scots Company Ltd.

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