• Read Martin Kenney’s latest comment piece
  • Published exclusively by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)

Although well-intentioned, the U.K.’s fiscal response to the COVID pandemic has been seriously flawed, creating huge opportunities for fraudsters to exploit multiple shortcomings of the various schemes offered by the government to help support businesses.

Now Whitehall officials have admitted that only 2% of the cash from a £22 billion program funding businesses during the pandemic has been returned to the Treasury in the last three years.

This is £21 billion of taxpayers’ money gone. This is a staggering sum, and particularly galling coming off the back of an energy crisis, a cost-of-living crisis and recession warnings threatening the U.K. economy.

The U.K. is not alone in this mess. The U.S. Department of Justice has opened multiple cases, going back to 2021, with hundreds of billions of dollars estimated to have been looted.

… In my view, there needs to be a joint public/private sector partnership approach to redress such huge fraud losses to the public purse.