Council investigating mother who allegedly withdrew thousands meant to pay for child’s care while on Dubai holiday
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 July 2020
A woman on a family trip to Dubai allegedly withdrew thousands of pounds which were meant to pay for her child’s carer.
The woman’s case is one of several under investigation by Barking and Dagenham Council following reports of potential frauds linked to direct payments.
These payments allow money to be passed from local authorities straight to people entitled to community care. It is designed to allow them to arrange care services themselves.
In total, Barking and Dagenham received 220 reports of corporate fraud during 2019-20. Of these, 45 were accepted for investigation by its fraud-busting team.
This includes a daughter with power of attorney who allegedly withdrew a large sum from her mother’s account in an apparent bid to avoid having to contribute to the cost of her care.
Another woman was allegedly found to have been outside the country for at least the last year while still receiving direct payments. She is also understood to be subletting her council property.
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The investigations are mentioned in the town hall’s counter fraud annual report which was discussed by councillors at an online meeting on Monday, July 27.
Counter fraud manager, Kevin Kay, told members of the borough’s audit and standards committee that the local authority also gets a lot of cyber scam reports.
“It shows the work we are doing to get people to report things to us is working, but the down side is people are still trying to defraud the council,” Mr Kay said.
The report notes that a criminal prosecution against a former member of staff at the local authority’s regeneration arm, Be First, did not warrant a criminal prosecution.
However, the evidence in the case has been passed to Be First for them to proceed with civil action against the ex-employee in relation to money spent on a company charge card.
Barking and Dagenham’s fraud team completed 154 housing related investigations in 2019-20 which is the same as the year before, the report states.
The eviction of a woman from her council home after she was found to have sublet the property for years while living abroad was put on hold due to restrictions brought in to stop tenants being evicted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In total, nine properties were recovered by the council in 2019-20.
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