Benefit cheats pay back £117,000 to Basingstoke council

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Benefit cheats have had to pay back £117,000 following a fraud investigation by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

The benefits were recovered after the anti-fraud team cross-checked information given by claimants with bank account details held by HM Revenue and Customs.

It is the highest amount recovered by the council from the data matching.

Ten claimants have repaid benefit overpayments totalling £117,337.06.

The investigation team used powers under the Social Security Fraud Act 2001 to obtain details direct from financial institutions relating to specific claimants.

Three people have been summoned to appear in court for offences relating to benefit fraud and three people have accepted administrative penalties.

Councillor Ranil Jayawardena said: "This sends out a clear warning that this council will not tolerate residents claiming benefits to which they are not entitled.

"We will use all our powers to track down fraudulent benefit claimants."

The investigation took place between April and June this year, working with the Housing Benefit Matching Service (HBMS).

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