2 Arrested over £3.4 Million Furlough Fraud in West Yorkshire

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

A man and a woman, both in their 30’s, have been arrested on suspicion of fraud under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). 

The arrest took place on April 28 after HM Revenue & Customs Taxpayer Protection Task Force carried out a search. 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was introduced back in April of 2020 and has since offered a vast amount of claims totalling around £61 billion supporting over a million employers and further supporting around 11.5 million jobs. 

This isn’t the first time the scheme has been used for fraud, with arrests being made as far back as July, last year. 

The investigation into the pair is still ongoing with both currently released while investigations are still being carried out.  

The pair have also been arrested on suspicion of multi-million pound tax fraud on top of the fraud relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

The director of the HM Revenue & Customs Taxpayer Protection Task Force, Janet Alexander, has commented on the ongoing trial and on further cases of fraud saying “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 or any HMRC administered Covid-19 support packages”.

Alexander, would further comment on the procedures already in place that prevent fraud under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme saying “We have built steps into CJRS to prevent mistakes and fraud happening in the first place, but anyone who is concerned that their employer might be abusing the scheme should report it to HMRC online or call 0800 788 887”.

The government has outlined its response to such fraud in March, announcing that over £100 million would be invested to combat fraud in relation to COVID-19 support packages.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is set to continue providing support to businesses until September 30 2021. The scheme continues to supply employees with up to 80% of their salary (up to £2500 a month). 

However, changes in employer contributions will be changed so that from July employers will be expected to pay 10% for hours employees do not work, then raising to 20% in August and September. 

With the introduction of the Coronavirus vaccine and with many businesses now starting to reopen, the number of claims made through the Furlough Scheme has dropped significantly (by 12,000 in February). However, £800,000 jobs were still furloughed during this period. 

For more information regarding CJRS and HR support, contact us.