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Accountant from Romford arrested over suspected £70k furlough fraud

The arrests were made yesterday

A man from Romford has been arrested as part of an investigation into an alleged £70,000 fraud involving the furlough scheme.

The 43-year-old accountant was detained yesterday by officers from HM Revenue and Customs.

A 51-year-old woman was also detained in Walthamstow as part of the same investigation and digital devices and business records were seized.

The man is suspected of fraud by false representation, fraud by abuse of position and money laundering, while the woman, who HMRC says is a company director, was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering.

They have both since been released under investigation.

Terry Braithwaite, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is part of the collective national effort to protect jobs. 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.

“Anyone who is concerned their employer has abused the scheme should report it to HMRC on gov.uk or by calling our fraud hotline line 0800 788 887.”

More than £35.4billion has been paid out through the scheme, which covers up to 80 per cent of a furloughed worker’s salary.

But it is thought up to £3.5billion may have been paid out in wrong or fraudulent claims.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has supported 9.6million workers and 1.2million employers during the pandemic

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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