#AceWorldNews – BRITAIN – August 26 – The Department for Work and Pensions has issued figures revealing that 7,296 Britons abroad were investigated for benefit fraud totalling £82 million in the past year.
Suspected cheats were investigated in 157 locations – Spain was the top one, with 769 cases, followed by Pakistan (628) and Turkey (298). Besides investigations in popular expat hotspots, such as France (213) and Australia (130), the department uncovered fraudsters in some rather unlikely locations.
One case was uncovered in Vatican City – where a Briton who was claiming disability benefit was found on an Italian walking holiday.
Another case was uncovered on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean – and one alleged fraudster was even traced to the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.
A DWP spokesman said she could not provide specific details of the Christmas Island and Bhutan cases, but most instances of “abroad fraud” involved claims for pension credit (£48m), housing benefit (£11m), sickness and disability benefits (£15m) and income support (£8m).
Some of those investigated had left Britain after their benefits claims started. Others failed to inform the Department for Work and Pension before leaving the country or stayed abroad too long.
Some cases involved families who failed to report the death of someone living abroad permanently and continued to receive their benefits.