COMMENT - Forced to pay back ill gotten thousands

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THOSE who choose to cheat the benefits system cost taxpayers thousands of pounds and recently the Government has announced a tougher stance and harsher penalties for those who do.

There will be some who point out that the subject in our article only served a fraction of the original sentence that was handed down.

Therefore it is reassuring that the vast majority of the ill-gotten gains has been ordered to be returned.

We sometimes see cases when individuals fraud their way to vast amounts and are only ordered to pay back small sums of that total.

On the most basic of levels, the fact remains that those who break the law should be punished and those who benefit financially from crime should not be permitted to enjoy their gains after conviction.

Whether tougher penalties for benefit fraud – putting the offence on a par with acts such as money laundering and banking fraud – is the correct way to go is another issue.

But crime should not pay.