We regularly assist and advise our clients with large-scale fraud, as well as more targeted enquiries into suspected irregularities.
Whatever the individual circumstances you may be faced with, our team provides the necessary support and guidance needed to investigate or combat any allegations.
What is Coronavirus Fraud?
Coronavirus fraud is any fraud related to the pandemic that has taken place.
What powers does the Government have to investigate?
The Chancellor recently announced of a £100m fund for a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce, (TPT) to combat and recoup monies that were claimed fraudulently from the various schemes open to businesses to keep them afloat during the extenuating circumstances brought on by the pandemic.
The TPT will be staffed by over 1,000 HMRC officers, who will look into suspected wrongful claims and investigate allegations of fraud.
Who will be targeted?
There will be a focus on fraud schemes said to be operated by organised crime groups, targeting a systematic assault on public funds.
However, we will also likely see an increase in investigations carried out into suspected wrongdoing, relating to claims made under the various schemes by innocent individuals and small businesses.
How will I know that I am under investigation?
Individuals and businesses being investigated are likely to receive a letter from HMRC as a first port of call.
However, it also feasible that they could receive a more direct ‘knock on the door’ from officers looking to gather evidence.
Should I be concerned of an investigation?
In short: yes. Even though there has been much criticism of the regulation and guidance of the government schemes for eligible claims, any criminal investigation into finances can have long serving consequences.
In many cases, HMRC will simply be investigating whether monies were unintentionally over-claimed, or, where provable, whether there are mitigating circumstances giving rise to the funds claimed.
In the worst-case scenario, a company may find itself the subject of a dawn raid which is much more serious.
As an alternative to a criminal investigation, HMRC may consider, where relevant, issuing a notice under their civil procedures, known as a COP9.
If you have any concerns relating to coronavirus fraud, or for more information about us and our Criminal Litigation, Investigations and Regulatory services, please contact a member of the team who will be able to assist.