A York man has been given a 20 month suspended sentence for a case of fraud which deprived the public purse of over £86k, in the first social care fraud prosecution by Veritau and City of York Council
Neil Long (aged 54 of Leighton Croft, York) failed to inform City of York Council, who funded his mother’s social care, when his parents’ property was sold in 2014. The case was investigated by Veritau, City of York Council’s counter fraud provider, and successfully prosecuted by the council.
This is the first prosecution of a social care fraud by the council’s legal department and an area of development for the counter fraud team. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) found that in 2018/19 losses due to adult social care fraud cases nationally had risen by 104% from the previous year.
City of York Council received information that Mr Long, the financial representative for his mother, had sold his parents’ property in 2014 and received £198,000 that he had not declared despite receiving social care funding.
The investigation found that on two separate occasions during 2015, Mr Long informed the council that his parents were still joint owners of the property and that his father still lived there.
During this period, the council spent £86,000 on social care for Mr Long’s mother, which has now been collected in full, as a result of joint working between Veritau and financial investigators from City of York’s Trading Standards team.
Appearing at York Magistrates Court on Tuesday 8 October 2019, Mr Long plead guilty to two charges of fraud by false representation.
The case was referred to York Crown Court for sentencing on Wednesday 4 December 2019, where Mr Long was given a 20 month suspended sentence and 80 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to repay all council costs of over £1,100 and an £80 victim surcharge.
When sentencing, the judge stated that a significant factor in mitigation was the repayment of £86,000 that Mr Long made to the council.
Sharon Houlden, Corporate Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care at City of York Council, said: “Adult social care funds support many individuals within the city and fraud like this reduces our ability to help people and make meaningful differences in their lives. We work hard to protect public money and take all reports of fraud seriously.”
Any members of the public with information on fraudulent activity are encouraged to phone the anonymous fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247.
A 24 hour voicemail facility is available, or you can email email@example.com.