Housing and council benefit cheats are facing a crackdown after a rise in the number of people being caught.
Hartlepool Council said in 2005/06, six people were prosecuted, six given a penalty and further 31 cautioned following investigations.
In that time, more than 7,200 claims were checked and in more than 1,400 of these the benefit entitlement was reduced and overpayment claimed back.
In 528 cases, the benefit entitlement was increased.
Council cabinet member for finance and performance management Peter Jackson said: "We remain committed to ensuring that people who are eligible for benefit receive their right entitlement.
"However, we are equally determined to ensure that people don't claim money that they are not entitled to and we take a very firm line with those who deliberately set out to cheat the system."