Council find £70,000 of fraud losses

DURING the last financial year 40 cases of fraud have been uncovered by Scottish Borders Council involving over £70,000.

Two of the cases involved sums of over £5000 - one was the theft of around £12,000 by an employee; the second related to housing and council tax benefit of £22,875 paid out when there was a failure to declare that the claimant was living with a partner.

The number of fraud cases involving amounts over £5000 have fallen since 2009, from 11 down to five in 2010/11. Individual cases under £5000 stood at 30 in 2010/11 - a total of £47,429 claimed falsely. The previous year only 13 were detected involving £20,648.

For the first time, the council this year submitted their electoral register and council tax data to Audit Scotland for the two to be matched and any potential fraud identified: people claiming single person council tax rebate for a property where two or more people are on the electoral register. The results are currently under review and councillors at this week’s audit committee meeting were told data matching is done “to target resources to those cases where it expects to make the most recovery of losses.”