An international campaign to raise awareness of fraud has the backing of councils across North Yorkshire and York.
Veritau – the council owned company that investigates fraud on behalf of Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale and Selby District Councils, and City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council – is highlighting some of the illegal practices affecting local communities as part of International Fraud Awareness Week (11th – 17th November 2018).
“With funding being stretched, it is more important than ever to identify and combat fraud to prevent losses to the public sector,” said Max Thomas, Director of Veritau.
“Fraud against the public sector deprives those most in need and reduces resources for frontline services. Veritau’s Counter Fraud Team undertakes criminal investigations to prevent and stop fraud. The most serious cases can result in a criminal prosecution.
“We urge people to contact us if they suspect fraud is occurring - no referral is a waste of time. We are able to make initial enquires to help determine if fraud is occurring. The most serious of our cases often lead to court action against those involved.”
During the week social media posts from Veritau, which have been promoted by councils, are raising awareness by focusing on council tax, business rates and social care fraud. The aim is to tackle cases where those minded to commit fraud apply for money or discounts that they do not qualify for. This can range from fraudulent applications for Single Person Discounts or Business Rates reliefs through to misuse of social care funds and disabled parking badges.
Last year a Veritau investigation led to a North Yorkshire resident being prosecuted for what may be the longest running council tax fraud in the country. Over a 20 year period, the man misled the council into believing that he lived alone when he in fact lived with his wife. He was reported to the Counter Fraud Team after being heard boasting about his gains. Pleading guilty at court, the council was able to recover nearly £5,000 in unpaid council tax.
If you have concerns about fraud contact Veritau at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247.
• Veritau has helped councils in North Yorkshire save over £1m through fraud investigation work since April 2017 as well as preventing ongoing losses and attempted fraudulent claims.