IAIN DUNCAN SMITH has met with the benefit fraud investigation team in Spain, which has helped recover almost £5 million of UK tax payers’ money.
The secretary of state for work and pensions thanked the Madrid-based team, which has investigated more than 1200 of benefit fraud involving British expats.
More allegations of benefit fraud are received in Spain than in any other foreign country, with fraudulent claims for pension credit and income support being the most commonly investigated.
Investigators explained to the politician they are able to trace suspects living in Spain by sharing data with the Spanish authorities, and that they follow up on leads provided by those calling the benefit fraud hotline here in Spain.
Nigel Hadley is the latest to have been convicted of benefit fraud after failing to declare his Marbella house on claim forms.
The 61-year-old has been ordered to sell his Spanish property to pay back more than £25,000 in falsely claimed benefits.
Ian Duncan Smith said: ““It is important that fraudulent claimants realise that even if they are living in Spain, it doesn’t mean they won’t be caught. Benefit fraud is a crime and we are committed to putting a stop to it whether you live in Spain, the UK or anywhere else in the world. Our investigators are here in Spain to make sure that no fraudster goes undetected.
“I would urge British residents who suspect someone of committing benefit fraud to call the hotline in Spain on 900 554 440. You can help us to ensure that UK taxpayers’ money is going to those that need it most.”