More benefit fraudsters found, says East Riding Council

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Thousands of pounds of benefit overpayments have been identified due to advances in investigation procedures, East Riding Council says.

Overpayments identified in 2007/08 amounted to £511,549, compared to a figure of £718,831 in 2009/10.

And the number of offenders dealt with by the authority increased from 147 in 2007/08 to 174 in 2009/10.

Punishments available to the authority include a formal caution, administrative penalty or prosecution.

The council's fraud department said advances in investigation procedures, the help of the public and increased data-sharing initiatives had contributed to the good results.

Andy Hardy, fraud investigation and enforcement manager, said: "It is reported that welfare and tax credit fraud costs the taxpayer around £5.2 billion a year.

"Let's be frank - the honest taxpayers are the victims here.

"It is my team's duty to protect the public purse and by working collaboratively with other agencies and the public we can reduce benefit fraud in our area."

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