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'10 years jail' for benefit cheats

Benefit cheats will face increased jail terms of up to 10 years in a crackdown on those who "flout the system", Britain's most senior prosecutor Keir Starmer has said.

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New guidelines on prosecuting benefit cheats

The new guidelines set out the factors that prosecutors should take into account when advising the court on allocation – whether to send cases to the Crown Court – and also act as the aggravating factors that prosecutors will draw to the sentencing court’s attention.

  • whether the fraud was professionally planned
  • whether the fraud was carried out over a significant period of time
  • whether multiple frauds occurred (multiple frauds include where one false declaration or a failure to disclose a change of circumstances results in multiple payments)
  • use of a false or stolen identity
  • relevant previous convictions / cautions/previous out of court disposals for benefit fraud
  • an attempt to conceal or dispose of evidence
  • abuse of a position of trust
  • substantial consequential loss to public funds

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