Arrest made on suspicion of furlough fraud

West Midlands man arrested on suspicion of £495,000 furlough fraud.

Yesterday, HMRC officers executed a search warrant in the Solihull area and arrested a 57 year old male under suspicion of furlough fraud as well as a suspected multi-million pound tax fraud and alleged money laundering offences.

Furlough is where an employee or worker agrees with their employer to stop work temporarily but stay employed.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allowed employers to claim for 80% of their employee’s wages (plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions) if they were forced to put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

More than £27.4 billion has already been claimed by businesses through the Job Retention Scheme, but this is the first arrest the HMRC has made in connection with alleged fraudulent activity relating to that scheme.

Under the warrant, HMRC s seized a number of computers and other digital devices from the 57-year-old man’s home, as well as freezing funds in a bank account relating to the his businesses.

As a result of this investigation, the HMRC also deployed more than 100 HMRC officers to 11 different locations across the UK, and have confirmed that a further eight men from across the West Midlands have also been arrested.

Regarding reports of fraudulent activity, Richard Las, Acting Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is part of the collective national effort to protect jobs. The vast majority of employers will have used the CJRS responsibly, but we will not hesitate to act on reports of abuse of the scheme.  This is taxpayer’s money and any claim that proves to be fraudulent limits our ability to support people and deprives public services of essential funding.”

Anyone who is concerned that their employer might be abusing the scheme can report it to HMRC online, at”

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