DWP administrator jailed for universal credit fraud

15 Feb 19

A Department for Work and Pensions employee has pleaded guilty to fraud worth more than £40,000 in universal credit payments.

Lauren Wainwright, 32, was jailed for a year at Preston Crown Court after she was found to have made 54 separate payments to herself using the national insurance numbers of 12 universal credit payments.

The DWP administrator used the national insurance numbers of claimants to set up nine bank accounts in her own name and paid benefit money into these accounts, according to reports.

Wainwright was found out after an internal investigation was launched in July 2017 over a suspicious payment of £331. On 4 June 2018, she admitted to the fraud.

Judge Knowles QC said: “What you did was more serious because of the cost to the public. That money was funded by taxation from people who are paid for the work they have done.”

He added: “The offending was persistent and repeated and via the abuse of your position as a civil servant administering universal credit.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “We have zero-tolerance towards fraud.

“Any suspected cases are investigated by specialist staff, who will refer all evidence immediately to the police. Employees are subject to disciplinary action and dismissed where wrongdoing is proven.”

Wainwright now faces a proceeds of crime hearing, which will decide how of the £40,000 she will have to pay back. 

The winners of this year's Government Counter Fraud Awards were announced on Wednesday - find out who the winners were here.

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