FRAUD busters have detected an unprecedented level of swindling in East Dunbartonshire - with more than £1million being uncovered in the last financial year.
Specialist council investigators, who work in conjunction with other crime fighting agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions, Strathclyde Police and HMRC, discovered fraud totalling £1,068.714.68 – an increase of almost 40 per cent from the previous year.
It also means that over the last five years the team has now discovered frauds that exceed £3m.
During the last financial year action was taken against 35 offenders, 22 of whom were reported to the procurator fiscal.
The most significant sentence during the year was that of Kirkintilloch woman, Tracey Spence, who was sentenced to nine months imprisonment in July 2011.
Ian Black, head of finance and ICT at East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC), said: “The council will continue to work with our partners and make full use of all available powers in fighting dishonest activity which results in the misuse of public money.
“We do everything within our powers to identify criminal activity and recover this money, including making full use of Proceeds of Crime legislation.
“We recognise that we would not be able to achieve these results without the backing of the honest residents of East Dunbartonshire, who provide crucial information to our team of dedicated investigators.”
The fraud team at EDC said they encourage anyone who has information regarding suspected benefit cheats to come forward.
All information is treated as confidential and you can report a suspected fraud anonymously by phoning the Benefit Fraud Hotline free on 0800 328 6340 between 8am and 6pm, e-mailing email@example.com, online at www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/reportfraud, writing to the Benefit Fraud Team, Revenue Services, East Dunbartonshire Council, Tom Johnston House, Civic Way, Kirkintilloch, G66 4TJ.