Somewhat inevitably, the furlough scheme appears to have been abused by a number of employers, either through fraudulent claims, through not passing the benefit on to their employees, or by requiring employees, technically furloughed, to work.
It is equally inevitable that fraud will emerge in relation to other government programmes, such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, in relation to which concerns about the limited nature of checks on applications have already been raised.
We can expect to see a wave of prosecutions relating to such fraud over the coming months and years.
HMRC’s hotline for reporting furlough fraud had received 8,000 calls so far. In total the tax authority was investigating 27,000 “high-risk” claims.