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Being investigated for a benefit fraud matter can be both daunting and stressful, that's why MJP solicitors provide free legal advice on benefit fraud matters. Call MJP solicitors today for free initial advice.

Benefit Fraud Sentencing Guidelines

The sentencing guidelines below are based on a first time offender being found guilty after trial. Credit will be given for a guilty plea which will have the effect of reducing the sentence by up to a third, if the plea is entered at the earliest possible occasion. However any sentence will be decided upon by reference to the specific circumstances of each case.

In order to determine a possible sentence you must first assess which culpability bracket the offence falls under using the table below.

Offence Category

A - High Culpability B - Medium Culpability C - Lesser Culpability
A leading role where offending is part of a group activity Other cases where characteristics for categories A or C are not present Involved through coercion, intimidation or exploitation
Involvement of others through pressure/influence Claim not fraudulent from the outset Performed limited function under direction
Abuse of position of power or trust or responsibility A significant role where offending is part of a group activity
Sophisticated nature of offence/significant planning

Next you need to assess which 'harm' category the offence falls under by using either the table for 'Dishonest Representations For Obtaining Benefit' or 'False Representations For Obtaining Benefit' below. The 'harm' categories are divided up into amounts which represent the 'amount obtained or intended to be obtained'.

Then by using the A, B or C columns (representing the culpability categories) you can determine a possible sentence.

111a - Dishonest Representations For Obtaining Benefit

Harm A B C
Category 1
£500,000 or more
Starting point based on: £1,000,000
starting point:
5 years' custody
category range:
4 years' - 6 years 6 months' custody
starting point:
4 years' custody
category range:
2 years 6 months' custody - 5 years' custody
starting point:
2 years 6 months' custody
category range:
15 months' custody - 3 years 6 months' custody
Category 2
£100,000 or more and less than £500,000
Starting point based on: £300,000
starting point:
4 years' custody
category range:
2 years 6 months' - 5 years' custody
starting point:
2 years 6 months' custody
category range:
15 months' - 3 years 6 months' custody
starting point:
1 years' custody
category range:
26 weeks' custody - 2 years 6 months' custody
Category 3
£50,000 or more and less than £100,000
Starting point based on: £75,000
starting point:
2 years 6 months' custody
category range:
2 years - 3 years 6 months' custody
starting point:
1 years' custody
category range:
26 weeks' - 2 years 6 months' custody
starting point:
26 weeks' custody
category range:
High level community order - 36 weeks' custody
Category 4
£10,000 or more and less than £50,000
Starting point based on: £30,000
starting point:
18 months' custody
category range:
36 weeks' - 2years 6months' custody
starting point:
36 weeks' custody
category range:
Medium level community order - 21 months' custody
starting point:
Medium level community order
category range:
Low level community order - 26 weeks' custody
Category 5
£2,500 or more and less than £10,000
Starting point based on: £5,000
starting point:
36 weeks' custody
category range:
Medium level community order - 18 months' custody
starting point:
Medium level community order
category range:
Low level community order - 26 weeks' custody
starting point:
Low level community order
category range:
Band B Fine - Medium level community order
Category 6
Less than £2,500
Starting point based on: £1,500
starting point:
Medium level community order
category range:
Low level community order - 26 weeks' custody
starting point:
Low level community order
category range:
Band A Fine - Medium level community order
starting point:
Band A Fine
category range:
Discharge - Band B Fine

112 - False Representations For Obtaining Benefit etc

Harm A B C
Category 5
Above £2,500
Starting point based on £5,000
starting point:
High level community order
category range:
Medium level community order - 16 weeks' custody
starting point:
Medium level community order
category range:
Band B Fine - High level community order
starting point:
Low level community order
category range:
Band A Fine - Medium level community order
Category 6
Less than £2,500
Starting point based on £1,000
starting point:
Medium level community order
category range:
Medium level community order - 16 weeks' custody
starting point:
Band B Fine
category range:
Band B Fine - Band C Fine
starting point:
Band A Fine
category range:
Discharge - Band B Fine

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

Additional aggravating factorsAdditional mitigating factors
1. Number involved in the offence and role of the offender 1. Peripheral involvement
2. Use of another person's identity 2. Misleading or incomplete advice

The presence of one or more aggravating factors may indicate a more severe sentence within the suggested range while the presence of one or more mitigating factors may indicate a less severe sentence within the suggested range.

The presence of aggravating or mitigating factors of exceptional significance may indicate that the case should move to a higher or lower level of seriousness.

The Guidelines Are Taken From The Sentencing Council Website

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