Criminal gangs may have received as much 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) from the U.K.’s rush to deliver wage support during the pandemic. While Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s furlough programs have sustained millions of workers through the crisis, the rush to build them from scratch opened the door to massive fraud, according to the National Audit Office. It is “almost certain” that organized crime took advantage of that, and probably claimed between 2.5% and 5% of the aid under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme , the NAO said. […] Total losses probably amount to as much as 3.9 billion pounds so far, including opportunistic fraud that the government considered “highly likely,” and internal fraud and errors that it reckoned had a “low” likelihood. […] Criminal gangs worked by stealing the identities of legitimate taxpayers or coercing them to make fraudulent claims, the NAO said.
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