A West Midlands man has been arrested as part of an HMRC investigation into a suspected £495,000 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) fraud.

HMRC officers executed a search warrant on 8th July and arrested the 57-year-old I the Solihull area. This is the first arrest in connection to alleged fraud relating to CJRS.

Computers and digital devices were seized, and funds held in a bank account relating to his business have been frozen.

More than £27.4 billion has been claimed through the Job Retention Scheme supporting 1.1m employers and 9.4m furloughed jobs.

The four lines of defence the CJRS scheme has are:

  • Employees have to have been on a payroll on or before 19 March – preventing the use of fake employees
  • Claims are only accepted from employers known – and authenticated – by HMRC
  • All claims are assessed by a specialist team within a 72-hour window
  • Proportionate and reasonable interventions with customers after money has been paid.

Eight more men from across the West Midlands have also been arrested as part of this linked investigation. Further computers and other digital devices were seized, plus business and personal records.