How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70412
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
12826847
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

I have been an . When I applied for Working Tax Credit,

Customer Question

I have been an idiot. When I applied for Working Tax Credit, I told them my husband’s earnings, which he sends home from Germany, were mine, and that he does not work. I did this because my earnings are negligible and my husband is unreliable about sending the money back. The Working Tax Credit became the only source of income I could be sure when was going to arrive. It’s not that we earn more than we are entitled to, but that I have lied about where the money comes from. Suddenly out of the blue they have asked for a check, and want documents to prove our income. All I have is my bank account showing the money arriving from Germany. My husband knows we get Working Tax Credit, but not that I signed his name on the forms (he is rarely home). After that I stuck my head in the sand and let the situation continue. I could tell them more lies, but fear I will only get myself in deeper trouble, but I am terrified of what will happen to me if I tell them the truth. My husband is not to blame for this and works so hard, he doesn’t deserve any trouble from them. Am I likely to go to prison for this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
How much have you claimed please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I don't know off the top of my head but it's £365 a month. We don't earn very much.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
For how long?
I am offline at 2pm but back at about 3pm so don't panic if I don't respond immediately
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

about six years

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Ok.
That, on my rough calculations, is just over £26,000 which is a large sum and you cannot hide from it.
The practical reality is that they probably will say it is benefit fraud and a false claim from the outset.
It is good mitigation to say that you were entitled to something anyway although not legitimately claimed in this case.
Similarly I presume you have no relevant previous convictions which is always positive.
It is always helpful to start repaying any overpayment.
The practical reality is that they probably will send this to the Crown Court for sentence but you are much better off there. This is not going to lead to custody. They have to mark the offending with a community order but you wouldn't go to prison on a first offence of this nature.
I would expect something like unpaid work unless you have other issues which is not likely.
There will be an order for costs and compensation.
You may be incredibly lucky and persuade them not to prosecute but brace yourself for the worst.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C. and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

What is my best course of action now? Should I write and tell them the truth, and make clear that my husband is not involved? How should I go about this? Would I be better to contact a solicitor at home before I contact them? I have until January 17th to answer their letter.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I would put your hands up.
They will find you anyway at some point and then you will not have the mitigation that you did confess.