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 A Metropolitan Police officer standing beside a van at a nearby incident in a suburban street in Greater London.
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Accountant and director arrested for £70,000 furlough fraud

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An accountant and company director were detained on Thursday (10 September) on a suspected £70,000 case of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) fraud following an HMRC investigation. 

11th Sep 2020
Staff Writer AccountingWEB
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Today, HMRC announced the arrest of two people in London on suspicion of furlough fraud as part of its investigations in order to crack down on abuse of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

A 43-year-old male accountant and a 51-year-old female company director were taken in on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering. The accountant was also accused of fraud by abuse of position.

They have now been released under investigation – digital devices and business records have been seized.

“The CJRS is part of the collective national effort to protect jobs,” said assistant director of HMRC Fraud Investigation Service Terry Braithwaite. 

“While most employers have used the scheme responsibly, this is taxpayers’ money and HMRC will not hesitate to act on reports of abuse of the scheme.”

HMRC investigates “high risk” CJRS fraud

In Monday’s televised virtual hearing HMRC’s chief Jim Harra revealed that between 5% and 10% of the £35.4bn furlough grants – around £3.6bn – could have been paid out as a result of deliberate fraud or error.

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Replies (16)

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By tom123
12th Sep 2020 10:43

Not really sure what checking your own claims means.

I have kept all my spreadsheets, but really don't want to repeat all the work to see if I get a different answer this time.

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Replying to tom123:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
12th Sep 2020 20:18

I would suggest that it means exactly what it says. If you’ve made a claim, or an accountant has done so on your behalf, you might want to check it - especially if it is large. If you don’t, and HMRC subsequently discover that you’ve overclaimed, you’re potentially opening yourself up to harsher treatment.

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By johnjenkins
14th Sep 2020 09:42

I've looked into this and my view is quite simple. Unless I have missed something glaringly obvious, any fraud within CJRS is going to be picked up. So how do those that commit these frauds hope to get away with it. The loan scheme and SE could be a different matter though.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By ds
14th Sep 2020 12:10

I think they try it on hoping to get away with it due to suspected HMRC incompetence and delays. If they get found out then for small claims, jail is very unlikely and a penalty is probably the worst fate for medium size fraud. For the big frauds, I expect they will scarper quickly to ancestoral homes etc.

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Replying to ds:
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By Rgab1947
15th Sep 2020 09:43

Now, now, fraudsters are not just from one element of society. Plenty working class are crooks too.

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By ds
14th Sep 2020 12:06

The photo at the head of this article shows some Met Police armed bobby. Are they expecting the arrest of some accountant and his wife to end in a shoot-out or hostage situation? Strange times indeed.

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Replying to ds:
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By AnnAccountant
14th Sep 2020 17:51

I think Gen Z like to create the impression of as much drama as possible. They were brought up motivated by clicks and likes -rather than honesty and integrity.

Mind, as it goes, since I have licensed firearms at home, a visit from the police investigating any naughtiness is likely to be by a tooled up officer because they don't know for certain whether I'll go mad and start a shootout. Don't call a hotline - I won't! - and I haven't made any furlough claims.

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Replying to AnnAccountant:
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By Survivor
15th Sep 2020 10:54

I bet your clients pay on time :)

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Replying to Survivor:
By Ruddles
15th Sep 2020 16:31

The subject matter of this thread must have struck a chord with you ;¬)

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By AndrewV12
15th Sep 2020 09:56

Extract above
'A 43-year-old male accountant and a 51-year-old female company director were taken in on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering. The accountant was also accused of fraud by abuse of position.'

ASSUMING THE CHARGES MADE ARE CORRECT , There is always one or two who cannot help themselves and have to go for the jackpot, no names mentioned yet.

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By bobsto12
15th Sep 2020 09:57

Given covid is a national emergency anyone who has tried to take advantage and commit fraud deserves to be thrown in jail.

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By BryanS1958
15th Sep 2020 10:12

Correct on which day and which version of HMRC rules and calculator?

We have hundreds of calculations and had a very limited amount of time and staff available to spend on the exercise. Are my clients going to thank me and pay for for spending additional time to check whether the calculations are correct? I have my doubts.

I am writing to my clients to offer them the option for us to double check and correct if necessary - at their cost.

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By Mr J Andrews
15th Sep 2020 16:21

Phew; the picture looks just like my house frontage. But then I saw the house number !
Can't wait to see the scumbags named , shamed and hopefully banged up.

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Replying to Mr J Andrews:
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By Ian McTernan CTA
16th Sep 2020 12:14

I'd like to wait until they are actually convicted of anything before being 'named, shamed and hopefully banged up' as this country supposedly still operates on 'innocent until proven guilty'- although not apparently with the social media generation who convict without evidence..

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By jamiea4f
16th Sep 2020 14:16

I'm sure there'll be more, people can't help themselves when it comes to "free money".

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Replying to jamiea4f:
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By ds
17th Sep 2020 10:16

Especially the government !

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