Furlough Fraudsters Stole as Much as £3 Billion, Says Spending Watchdog

More than £3bn might have been stolen in furlough money by criminal gangs and fraudulent employers, according to estimates used by parliament’s spending watchdog in a report into the government’s flagship jobs protection scheme, the Financial Times reported. The National Audit Office said there was evidence of “significant levels of furlough fraud” from both organised gangs “hijacking” claims and employers taking money collected on behalf of staff. More money will be lost through staff working hours that they were claiming for, the NAO added. “HMRC has paid out billions of pounds to fraudsters. Most of this is likely to be gone for good,” said Meg Hillier, who chairs the public accounts committee.  “HMRC managed to stop tens of thousands of fraudulent claims against the self-employment scheme. But it doesn’t know how many managed to slip through the net…” Read more