Benefits crooks claim three-quarters of a million pounds

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SNEAKS across East Dunbartonshire racked up a staggering £755,000 in false claims, it has been claimed.

But the council says it has not written off the money – contrary to a report in a national newspaper.

Ian Black, head of finance at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “The council did identify £755,000 of benefit fraud for 2010/11, but these debts will not be written off.

“Officers are actively working to ensure these monies are repaid. All avenues will be pursued, including prosecution.

“In addition, we have strengthened our fraud prevention arrangements to minimise the risk of benefit fraud.”

The council official said East Dunbartonshire had a strong track record on tackling benefit fraud.

In 2010 the local authority was commended by Audit Scotland.

The finance watchdog said that ‘overall, relative to size’, East Dunbartonshire Council had the ‘highest yield from housing benefit investigations for the second successive National Fraud Initiative exercise’.

Mr Black added: “This demonstrates the seriousness which we attach to this important area of work.”