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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71147
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am trying to stop a friend from illegally claiming Legal

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I am trying to stop a friend from illegally claiming Legal Aid. She has told her solicitor that she does not have a bank account this is untrue it contains approx £1000. Her application is currently being processed. Could you advise me on the penalties for this and are stringent checks made on her financial records with regards ***** ***** application?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Is this for a criminal matter?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it is

How did you come to find out about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I overheard my friends end of a telephone conversation with her solicitor. I spoke to her immediately and explained that this was not a good thing to do, it was illegality that could only lead to getting into further trouble. Unfortunately she believes that she will not be checked for financial records because she has said that she does not have a bank account. I want to stop her making such a stupid mistake and by asking you the legal position would hopefully convince her to stop her legal aid application

She might be asked to submit financial records. If there is any concern about her income at all then she will. There is a specific requirement to do that upon any other application than a passported benefit one.
That said, the practical reality is that its always possible to not submit records from certain accounts. That is fraud and if caught she would be prosecuted. Whether she would be or not is another matter of course but that is the risk that she faces.
It is quite unlikely that it will be accepted that she doesn't have a bank account at all. Obviously some people do not but they are few and far between now and it gives rise to instant suspicion when somebody says that. Its fair to say that it could lead to a line of enquiry which may lead to her being questioned.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Could you tell me what the penalties are for this type of crime as I want the legal message to hit home

Fraud is a very wide ranging offence. Obviously some frauds are massive and some are very minor. It depends on the type of case but the truth is thats probably not going to be more than a couple of thousand so unless she has horrendous convictions she would probably escape custody.
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