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Business Crime Fraud Farleys Solicitors LLP
Business Crime Fraud Farleys Solicitors LLP

Furlough Fraud Defence Solicitors

Furlough Fraud Defence for Business Owners

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the Furlough Scheme, was set up back in March 2020 in an attempt to protect jobs during lockdowns and trading restrictions due to the pandemic.

The cost of the scheme has run into the tens of billions and HMRC is now under pressure to recover some of this cost which is believed to have been fraudulently claimed.

How Can Furlough Payments Be Fraudulently Claimed?

Furlough fraud can occur both intentionally or accidentally due to:

– Clerical or admin errors
– Misunderstandings of the parameters of the scheme
– Asking employees to volunteer or train while on furlough
– Claiming for fake employees
– Making staff work while claiming furlough payments for them
– Not paying furloughed staff

What Are the Penalties for Furlough Fraud?

HMRC have been sending letters to business owners they believe have received overpaid furlough payments offering a 90-day amnesty to be able to declare any possible mistakes within your claim.

If no correspondence is received, HMRC investigations can take two possible routes with penalties differing depending on whether it is a civil or criminal investigation.

Penalties from civil tax investigations could include:

– Repayment of funds
– Extra penalty of between 30-100% of the overpayment
– Director(s)’ personal liability and risk of being named and shamed
– Further tax investigations

Penalties from a criminal tax investigation could include:

– Raids and arrests
– Police interviews
– CPS charge
– Magistrates Court prosecution and a trial and sentencing at the Crown Court
– Possible prison sentence
– Confiscation of the overpayment plus interest under the Proceeds of Crime Act
– Public/media interest
– Further tax investigations

Contact a Furlough Fraud Defence Solicitor

Whatever stage of the process, Farleys furlough fraud defence solicitors can provide your with up to date advice and representation to result in the best possible outcome for you and your business. Contact our experts today on 0125 460 6090 or by email.

Criminal Charges for Furlough Fraud

Possible charges if found guilty of furlough fraud after a criminal tax investigation include:

– Fraud by false representation under the Fraud Act 2006
– False accounting
– Conspiracy to defraud
– Cheating the public revenue
– Money laundering
– Failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion

What to Do If You Are Facing Furlough Fraud Investigations

It is important that, if you feel you have made a mistake with your furlough claims or are faced with an investigation by HMRC, you seek professional legal advice at the earliest opportunity. A tax investigation solicitor will be able to advise you on your position and best steps to take to protect your business and your personal liability.

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