Birmingham & Black Country

Solihull man arrested over £495,000 'furlough fraud'

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Image caption More than £27bn has been claimed through the government scheme, HMRC said

A man has been arrested on suspicion of defrauding the government's furlough scheme out of £495,000.

The arrest, thought to be the first relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), was carried out in Solihull in the West Midlands.

Computers were seized and funds frozen in the 57-year-old man's business bank account, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said.

More than £27bn has been claimed in total through the scheme, HMRC added.

The furlough scheme was designed to help people put on leave because of the outbreak, and prevent mass redundancies.

Richard Las, from HMRC's fraud investigation service, said: "The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is part of the collective national effort to protect jobs.

"The vast majority of employers will have used the CJRS responsibly, but we will not hesitate to act on reports of abuse of the scheme."

The man was also arrested - along with a further eight men from across the West Midlands - in relation to a separate suspected multimillion-pound tax fraud and alleged money laundering offences, HMRC added.

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