UK watchdog attacks ‘inadequate’ effort to tackle Covid loan fraud

After the NAO branded the government’s measures to prevent fraud in its bounceback Covid-19 loan scheme for small businesses “inadequate” saying it needed to do more to recoup the estimated £5bn that was stolen, Syed Rahman Partner at Rahman Ravelli comments on the fraud-friendly faults that have been highlighted: “The picture painted by the NAO is a depressing one. It depicts a situation where the authorities are now scurrying to regain cash that should never have been paid out.

“The Bounce Back Loan Scheme’s emphasis on delivering the money as swiftly as possible with the bare minimum of checks being made was always going to attract fraudsters like bees to the honey pot. There can be little surprise that the NAO has now made it clear that the fund was vulnerable to fraud and losses.

“It almost defies belief that the compliance teams now monitoring the loans were not in place at the time the loans were being handed out. Simple logic tells us that it there is less chance of being left out of pocket due to fraud if proper, worthwhile checks are made before any money is given out.”