A record 206 cases of welfare fraud were uncovered between April and November and they cost the Government $7.5 million, the Social Welfare Department said yesterday. There were 201 cases for the whole of last financial year, although these cost $10 million. Ng Yiu-hing, head of the department's Special Investigation Team, said the latest cases involved 'short-term' swindlers. 'Previously, we would find cases where the person had been defrauding the department for years. This year, the longest cheating period of a detected case was only 1.5 years,' he said. Fifty-four per cent of this year's cases involved under-reporting or failing to report income, while 23 per cent involved under-reporting or failing to report assets. Thirty-three cases (16 per cent) related to rental fraud. One man convicted of fraudulently receiving a $30,000 rental allowance this year was jailed for 12 months, Mr Ng said, adding that the maximum penalty for welfare fraud was 10 years' imprisonment. Of the 206 detected fraud cases this year, 81 were referred to police, with 15 resulting in convictions.