57-year arrested on suspicion of £500,00 furlough fraud

In the first case of its kind, a man has been arrested on suspicion of £500,000 furlough fraud.

A 57-year-old man has become the first person to be arrested in connection with an alleged fraud of the Government furlough scheme.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said it had arrested a male from Solihull, West Midlands, on Wednesday.

It comes amid allegations of a £495,000 fraud involving the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

HMRC said it was the first such arrest to be made.

Officers executed a search warrant, seizing computers and other digital devices, while funds held in a bank account relating to the arrested man’s business have been frozen.

More than £27.4 billion has been claimed through the scheme, supporting 1.1 million employers and 9.4 million furloughed jobs.

HMRC added that the man was also arrested in relation to suspected multimillion-pound tax fraud and alleged money laundering offences.

“This is taxpayers’ money and any claim that proves to be fraudulent limits our ability to support people and deprives public services of essential funding.

“As usual, we have built steps in 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.”

A further eight men from across the region have also been detained as part of this linked investigation, which involved the deployment of more than 100 HMRC officers to 11 locations.

Computers, digital devices, and business and personal records were also seized during the raids.

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