A woman convicted of benefit fraud amounting to £225,000 has been jailed for 32 months under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Rashpal Kaur was formally convicted of 22 offences involving the fraudulent claiming of state benefits in May 2012.

Following her conviction the Sandwell Council Benefit Fraud Team conducted an extensive financial investigation into Kaur, gaining access to her personal bank accounts. The investigation revealed that in addition to the £35,000 that Kaur had claimed in benefits, she had also received a further £190,000 of which she could offer no feasible explanation. As a result Judge Dudley was forced to conclude that she had fraudulently obtained the sum through criminal means, committing a serious offence against the state.

Kaur was ordered to repay the full £225,000 by the 15th March or face further legal action, a warning that she failed to register. After her failure to repay the money Kaur was once again brought before the courts at enforcement hearing on the 9th of July. Through the course of the hearing it was found Kaur had made no effort to cooperate during the investigation, nor had she attempted to reimburse the council for the money she fraudulently acquired. Therefore the Deputy Judge was left with no option other than to penalise Kaur with a custodial sentence.

The Judge’s ruling was made in line with the Proceeds of Crime Act which equips Courts with the power to impose custodial sentences where deemed appropriate. Kaur’s case exemplifies this principle as she will continue to serve her sentence until the amount is paid in full.

Benefits fraud is a serious criminal offence, in some cases carrying custodial sentences where the defendant cannot or chooses not to repay the money owed. If you have been accused of benefits fraud or another fraudulent offence it is vital you contact a solicitor at the earliest opportunity. To speak to a specialist criminal defence solicitor contact Farleys on 0845 050 1958, alternatively please complete an online enquiry form. For 24 hour advice via our emergency crime line, call 01254 606050.