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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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those who paid tributes to the former Dundee East MP, saying his loss would be "keenly felt".