The Central Neighbourhood Team from Rotherham have been shortlisted for the Partners Award at the Government Fraud Awards 2019.
The team were nominated for their success, following an operation with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that recovered over a quarter of a million pounds of benefit fraud money.
‘Operation Holmes’ was an intelligence-led operation by DWP and was carried out in partnership with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) and South Yorkshire Police in October 2018.
The operation consisted of two days of action within Rotherham and followed allegations of fraud being made. It was initially thought to be a local tight-knit community that were sharing knowledge in order to submit successful, but false, benefits claims.
The teams were able to gather and develop intelligence, seize evidence and take joint partnership action, and over a quarter of a million pounds was found to be being falsely claimed.
In addition to the money recovered, RMBC identified numerous houses in which housing benefits were being claimed and paid but had no occupants, houses with multiple occupancy and cases of false identity. A number of occupants were also found to be in possession of drugs.
Over 20 of the cases identified have led to on-going investigations with intelligence gathering, border control checks and decision making underway.
The awards are held to celebrate and showcase the work being done to protect public funds in the UK.
PCs Claire Atkinson and Luke Bugdol and Police Community Support Officer Jacqui Millward are attending the ceremony tomorrow (Wednesday 13 January) at The Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, London, where the winners will be announced.
Inspector Jenny Lax said: “I am extremely proud of the team, it is great that their actions and dedication are being recognised.”
We will be following and sharing the teams’ attendance on Twitter and Facebook.
If you suspect somebody is committing benefit fraud, please visit the Direct Gov website- https://www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud or call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline- 0800 854 440
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