Railcard Fraud?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by lukemk, 28 Apr 2015.

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  1. lukemk

    lukemk Member

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    Today I purchased a return ticket from A-B, showed my railcard. No issues.

    Upon return journey, I saw my card went out of date today (despite still actually being valid until midnight?!?!) - stupidly, I changed the date from 2015, to 2016 via pencil.

    Upon inspection this was identified by an inspector, I then admitted this to him, signed the statement and will await correspondence.

    To my understanding this could be resolved by:
    - No further action
    - Internal fine
    - Summons to Court (my question is what would be the outcome for this?)

    I have no previous trouble with the train line (East Midlands), and technically my card was in date so there's no loss? However i have admitted to fraud (manipulating my rail card)..

    What is expected outcome of this? Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

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    I don't think there needs to be loss for a criminal complaint. Your intent was clear when you changed the date.

    Wait for the letter, grovel, and give them whatever they ask for.
     
  3. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    It looks like the intent was to get another years use for free, seems pretty serious to me.
     
  4. lukemk

    lukemk Member

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    after some digging, turns out the railcard expired 10 days ago.

    It was a genuine mistake; I tried to cover it up to 'allow myself' back to my home destination, where I could renew my pass.


    The date was very faint, hence the mistake... In the morning when I purchased my ticket, even the operator didn't see and still issued the ticket..
     
  5. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's not a mistake then.
     
  6. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    What sort of "digging" changed the expiry date from "today" to "10 days ago"?
     
  7. Jonfun

    Jonfun Member

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    Digging with the rubber to change "28" back to "18"?
     
  8. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Comparison of the email/receipt from when it was purchased to a calendar?
     
  9. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    If I were you, I would start saving... And if they offer to settle out of court, then take it!! They have an Easy Regulation of Railways Act prosecution here which Upon conviction will leave you with a criminal record.
     
  10. lukemk

    lukemk Member

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    Thanks for replies...

    Digging meaning checking my emails to see when it was registered. The date was so faint on the card you couldn't make it out even.

    If it was to go to court - what would the terms of charges be?
    Railway act 89?
    Bylaws 2005?
    Fraud...? This one I could speculate custodial sentence...
     
  11. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    Could be any of the 3 but I would suspect the top one.
     
  12. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    At the very least, a Regulation of Railways Act prosecution - actually changing the date on a railcard is way beyond what the Byelaws are intended for. A fraud charge isn't much of a stretch either.

    If it was a fraud charge, I wouldn't expect a custodial sentence due to the relatively small amount involved.
     
  13. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It could be any, but the Regulation of Railways Act is the most likely. It really does not require much effort from them to secure a conviction.

    So start saving, and be ready to grovel and beg when the letter asking for your version of the events arrives.

    The way I read into what happened is that you bought a Railcard-discounted ticket (from the machine or the ticket office? - it is not difficult to them to check), then realised that your Railcard was out-of-date, and instead of renewing it you fraudulently changed the expiry date hoping that you would get away with it. It could also be that you intentionally purchased a discounted ticket you are not entitled to despite knowing that your Railcard was out of date. Now it may not be what actually happened but I am willing to bet my house this is how the prosecutors will interpret the turn of the events, as you have nothing to show otherwise, and your original version of the story does not really make any sense. Why would you be amending the expiry date on the Railcard if you don't actually need the extended validity?

    Nought you can do now until the letter arrives, and you can take the appropriate next step when that happens.
     
  14. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    The bit that doesn't add up for me is that if the date was so faded as to be almost unreadable how on earth are you going to change a 5 to a 6 with a pencil and hope to make it look as faded as the the rest?
     
  15. island

    island Established Member

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    You can renew a Railcard at any staffed station. You don't need to get "home" to do it.

    Prosecutors tend to work on the principle that the simplest explanation is probably right, and bb21's is the simplest explanation.

    Start saving as you will want to pay an out of court settlement if one is offered...
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Indeed, but don't expect it to be small in such a clearly deliberate case of fraud, if it is offered at all, as I would expect a prosecution to be near certain to succeed.

    Bad news, but if you can't do the time[1], as they say...

    [1] I wouldn't expect "time" but I would expect a very hefty fine.
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2015
  17. lukemk

    lukemk Member

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    Thanks again all for your opinions on the matter, I just want to clear up my story for this purpose...

    This morning I purchased a return ticket to destination B from A, via an actual person at the window - even they looked at my travel card.

    When on my return journey I looked at my rail card, to find it was out of date.. (Haven't used in around a month). The date was printed "18 APR 2015" (I've just checked this online) The 18 was very faded with the 2015 being only slightly visible... My instant thought was "oh no, I'm going to get in some serious trouble for this", hence my 'reasoning' to alter the 2015 to 2016, in aim that it would get me back to station A without hindrance.

    Upon inspection, the inspector questioned the year, to which I just put my hands up straight away - of course he took details.. and made my sign this admission statement.

    I know I'm in trouble and I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm just trying to establish the LIKELY course of action... I presume they will write to me asking for my account of events? My questions are:

    1) The best possible situation is out of court settlement - ADVICE FOR THIS PLEASE? How do go about asking this? What would make them want to pick this?

    2) If it did go to court, under Act of 89 (and/or) bylaws, it's to my understanding it will be a fine of up to i.£500 or ii.£1000 - level 3 (fine + 3 months custody) is for people who have committed such evasion before. Am I correct in this understanding?

    3) The scenario of them looking to prosecute for fraud - what's the likelihood of this? I understand what I've done is fraudulent, however I haven't replicated/manufactured a ticket or pass in order to evade completely, somewhat mitigating? IF it did go for this, what would be the probable outcomes?

    Again, thank you all for your opinions and feedback - you all seem to have a much more educated understanding of this sort than most, so I look forward to more input..
     
  18. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    So did you realize that it expired on the 18th at that time (before you altered the expiry date) or not? Still, it makes no sense why you would alter the date if you thought the expiry date was 28th at the time.

    Because it may well be financially advantageous for them to accept an out-of-court settlement, especially if it were for a large sum. For first-time offenders, it is a common resolution, although some do get prosecuted and made an example of.

    If you want to ask for an out-of-court settlement, you are going to have to grovel as we said earlier. You will have to explain what happened on the day, any remorse and regret you felt about your actions, what you learned from this episode, and what you will do in the future. You can then tentatively ask if they would be willing to dispose of the matter by means of an out-of-court settlement, and that you would be willing to cover any costs they have incurred dealing with this incident.

    £1000 is the maximum fine under the RoRA but usually only reserved for repeat offenders.

    Being convicted in the court is not necessarily going to be more expensive than a settlement, but of course conviction under the RoRA carries a criminal record.

    A fraud charge is unlikely imo, due to the sum involved. The offence is quite well captured by the RoRA.
     
  19. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

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    I would assume then that you did not have a valid ticket for the whole of your journey (i.e. there and back) due to the expired railcard.

    Who knows what the court might say, but they could be lenient or they could make an example out of you. I don't think anyone can say at this stage.

    I don't know what sentence a fraud charge carries but I suspect it will show up on a DBS check (if convicted), and definately an enhanced DBS which could mitigate any chances of you getting a job if you don't declare it at interview

    Perhaps you could tell us what the letter says when it arrives (leaving out any personal information of course)
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2015
  20. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Technically the ticket seller should check that your railcard is valid, however that doesn't absolve you of the responsibility to ensure that it is before travel.
    I hope that you realise now that was a very silly course of action - the worst that would have happened was a penalty fare or having to purchase a full-price ticket for your journey. Anyway, that is water under the bridge, nothing can be done about it now.
    Yes that is probable, however given that they already have a signed confession of your guilt they may choose to move directly to a prosecution.
    As others have posted, an impressive display of grovelling is the only thing likely to work. If you can demonstrate that this action was significantly out of character, and that you have a spotless history of paying for your travel it would help your case.
    For first offences, fines tend to be at the lower, rather than higher end of the spectrum. I wouldn't expect a custodial sentence.
    This is just an opinion, other forum members have more experience with these kinds of issues, but I would say that while possible it isn't likely that they would pursue a fraud charge. If your description of the events leading up to this situation is complete then it doesn't appear to be a pre-meditated attempt to commit high-value fraud.
     
  21. DelayRepay

    DelayRepay Member

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    Your later posts contradict your original post.

    My advice is that you need to be absolutely clear about what happened because if you try to tell fibs, you'll get caught out and end up in an even worse situation.
     
  22. lukemk

    lukemk Member

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    naja, robert and bb21, thank you for your responses - definitely put my mind at ease.

    - So custody is looking to be out of the question, criminal record for fare evasion under RoRA (Not fraud) with a hefty fine probable

    OR

    - Out of court settle meant, with heftier fine... Somewhat likely(?)

    Based upon this, my course of action should be:
    - Wait for correspondence; likely to be request to attend an interview
    - Grovel; show remorse, what I've learnt, and how I will not repeat such stupidity
    - Hope for an out of court settlement (how much would this be usually?), or hope for the best in court


    Again, thank you all
     
  23. MP33

    MP33 Member

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    If you think changing something in pencil is odd. When I worked for the Civil Service, I had a job organising tribunals to invite people with criminal convictions to appear before them.

    One fellow was convicted of altering the grade on a A level examination certificate to try and get into a University. Even photocopies of the document for the tribunal showed what a awful forgery attempt it was.
     
  24. lukemk

    lukemk Member

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    and what was his punishment, if you know?
     
  25. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I guess that you might have taken that 'understanding' by looking at the statute. I hope it was not from any legal advice!

    Any proper legal advice should have explained that the correct answer will be found by looking at the Courts' 'Sentencing Guidelines'. The fine imposed on a person found Guilty of a Crime must reflect the seriousness of the offence, and it does so by reference to the criminal's income. Most probably the situation you have described will fall within 'Band B' which is in the range of 75% to 125% of the criminal's weekly income.
    Other discounts and surcharges are applied to the fine in accordance with the Guidelines.

    This is in addition to the new Criminal Courts Charge of £150, Victim Surcharge of perhaps £20, the prosecution's costs, and the assessed amount of unpaid fares.
    The Fraud Act applies when there is a deliberate attempt to take substantial benefit and to cause substantial loss. That may be through repeated and sustained low-value incidents, or a few high-value incidents, through assisting in an organised attempt to exploit an unintended gain, through participating in a group who achieve substantial exploitative gains, or through other systemic schemes which make personal gain from the Company's loss.
    There are several instances of Fraud being prosecuted successfully against an individual making low-value journeys without paying their proper fare repeated over a significant number of months, against an individual making occasional high-value journeys with invalid tickets, and against organised sellers of counterfeit high value tickets.
    You will know already if the evidence is going to show whether or not you fall into such categories.
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2015
  26. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

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    A nice polite letter that says you're sorry, and offering to put it right. Its simpler, easier, and cheaper for them to do it this way, and they can move onto the next fraudster.
     
  27. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I am really sorry to hear that you have ended up in this situation. It sounds like you didn't realise the RC hard expired and in a panic did something silly in altering the date. Just wait for the letter to arrive in the post. They are highly likely to accept an out of court settlement if you request this given it is your first time offence.

    It does strike me of people will openly admit to doing somthing wrong. Personally, I'd say nothing if I got caught (you do not have to say anything). I would only ever provide my name and address ONLY and this would be when I'd done something wrong. Remember too you do not have to wait around for railway staff to confirm any of the details you've provided is correct (although hard to do on a train) and NEVER EVER sign anything. Why help someone try to bring trouble on you.
     
  28. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    Stupid advice, if you don't know what you are talking about don't post in this forum. Apart from anything else, refusing to give your name and address is an offence in itself.
     
  29. FenMan

    FenMan Member

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    Agreed!
     
  30. tony6499

    tony6499 Member

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    Taking that advice is more likely to bring the BTP and straight to court without passing Go and any kind of out of court settlement
     
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