Grant Fraud

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Hello,
I hope whoever is reading this is keeping well.
My name is Yohannes Lowe. This is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Please could you breakdown the following information from 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021.
Please could the information be broken down concisely and as I have requested- in the most simple language/terms possible.
Q1) How many overpayments did your council identify for claims made as part of Covid-related government grant schemes it administered (for example, but not limited to: small business rates grant scheme; retail, hospital and leisure grant scheme) over the stated period?
1a) If such overpayments did occur, please could you tell me the total frequency of/ reasons for /such overpayment (for example, but not limited to: 'payment error', 'ineligible claim', 'fraudulent claim'). 
1aa) For each of these overpayments please can you state: the cost to the council of the overpayment amount (in £); how much of its total has been recovered (in £) as of the current date, and how much money (in £) is outstanding as of the current date.
So, for instance, taking the 'fraudulent claim' category as an example, your council may have made overpayments worth £300,000 for 30 fraudulent claims, recovered £25,000 for 2 of them as of the current date, meaning there is £275,000 outstanding for 28.  
1b) In relation to the identified fraudulent claims, please can you break this information down in terms of what kind of fraud occurred (for example, but not limited to: 'organised fraud').
If you feel that a substantive response to this request is not possible within a reasonable time frame, or the request is too broad, I would be grateful if you could please contact me by email ([email address]) and provide assistance as to how I could refine the request.
Kind Regards,
Yohannes Lowe

Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Yohannes

 

Please see attached.

 

Regards

Joan Jones | Civic Links & FOI Officer 

Amber Valley Borough Council
Financial Services Directorate | Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley,
Derbyshire, DE5 3BT
Email: [1][email address] | Telephone: 01773 841601 |
[2]www.ambervalley.gov.uk

Making a Difference for Amber Valley

 

 

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Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

2 Atodiad

Dear Yohannes

 

Please see the attached response to your request.

 

Regards

Joan Jones | Civic Links & FOI Officer 

Amber Valley Borough Council
Financial Services Directorate | Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley,
Derbyshire, DE5 3BT
Email: [1][email address] | Telephone: 01773 841601 |
[2]www.ambervalley.gov.uk

Making a Difference for Amber Valley

 

 

This email is private. If you are not the intended recipient, please
notify the sender by return, destroying the email without disclosing or
relying upon it. We may by law have to disclose this email. We monitor
both sent and received emails. The attachments are opened at your own
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Hello Joan,
Thanks very much for your response to my FOI Request (DJ/FOI/116/21). It is greatly appreciated. 
Would you please be so kind to confirm whether or not it is accurate to say, from your response, that there have been 3 overpayments over the requested period?
I am not sure at what stage in the payment process the 2 fraudulent claims were"stopped by bank". I am assuming this meant no payment went through (which is why I didn't count those 2 overpayments in the tally- but please do clarify if this is a misinterpretation).
For each of the fraudulent claims, please can you tell me the type of fraud involved in the claim (i.e. was this person claiming they lived in one premises entitled to the grant but actually resided somewhere else, did they falsely claim they owned an eligible business etc). How did the bank know to stop the payments? 
Can you please tell me the date all of the overpayments were paid (DD/MM/YYYY) and the names of the government grants they were paid in relation to. What does "erroneous payment" mean in this context- why were the other two claims voluntarily returned by the payee?
You can, of course, treat this as a new request.
Best,
Yohannes

Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

Hi Yohannes - I will make further enquiries and get back to you asap.

Regards

Joan Jones | Civic Links & FOI Officer

Amber Valley Borough Council
Financial Services Directorate | Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3BT
Email: [email address] | Telephone: 01773 841601 |
www.ambervalley.gov.uk
Making a Difference for Amber Valley

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

Dear Yohannes

I have today received the following information: -

" Q1) How many overpayments did your council identify for claims made as part of Covid-related government grant schemes it administered (for example, but not limited to: small business rates grant scheme; retail, hospital and leisure grant scheme) over the stated period?
5

1a) If such overpayments did occur, please could you tell me the total frequency of/ reasons for /such overpayment (for example, but not limited to: 'payment error', 'ineligible claim', 'fraudulent claim').
ANSWER
3 payment error
2 fraud

1aa) For each of these overpayments please can you state: the cost to the council of the overpayment amount (in £); how much of its total has been recovered (in £) as of the current date, and how much money (in £) is outstanding as of the current date.
So, for instance, taking the 'fraudulent claim' category as an example, your council may have made overpayments worth £300,000 for 30 fraudulent claims, recovered £25,000 for 2 of them as of the current date, meaning there is £275,000 outstanding for 28.
ANSWER
3 payment errors totaling £27,357 all recovered
2 fraudulent claims totaling £20,000 stopped by bank so not actually paid

1b) In relation to the identified fraudulent claims, please can you break this information down in terms of what kind of fraud occurred (for example, but not limited to: 'organised fraud').”
ANSWER
As far as we are aware this was organized fraud."

I trust this answers your queries.

Kindest regards

Joan Jones | Civic Links & FOI Officer

Amber Valley Borough Council
Financial Services Directorate | Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3BT
Email: [email address] | Telephone: 01773 841601 |
www.ambervalley.gov.uk
Making a Difference for Amber Valley

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Jones, Joan,
Thanks very much for your response to my request re Covid grants.
I am going to say there were 3 overpayments (i.e. payments actually paid out) over the requested period instead of 5 (as the 2 fraudulent claims were stopped by the bank). Please do tell me if you disagree with this assessment.
As previously requested, can you please tell me the date all of the overpayments were paid (DD/MM/YYYY) and the names of the government grants they were paid in relation to.
Best,
Yohannes

Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

Hi Yohannes

Our officer agrees with your first statement.

I am still awaiting the information on dates of overpayments etc. I will get this to you asap.

Regards

Joan Jones | Civic Links & FOI Officer

Amber Valley Borough Council
Financial Services Directorate | Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3BT
Email: [email address] | Telephone: 01773 841601 |
www.ambervalley.gov.uk
Making a Difference for Amber Valley

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

Hi Yohannes

Further to my email below, I have now received more information:-

"£7,357 paid 01/02/2021 LRSG tier 4 payment

£10,000 paid 17/08/2202 SBRR payment

£10,000 paid 17/08/2202 SBRR payment

£25,000 paid 12/05/2020 retail payment

£10,000 paid 12/05/2020 retail payment"

I hope this now fully answers our request. If you require anything further, please let me know.

Kindest regards

Joan Jones | Civic Links & FOI Officer

Amber Valley Borough Council
Financial Services Directorate | Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3BT
Email: [email address] | Telephone: 01773 841601 |
www.ambervalley.gov.uk
Making a Difference for Amber Valley

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Jones, Joan,
Thanks for your further response in relation to my request re Covid grants.
Would you be so kind to scan over the below summarisation of the information provided so far to ensure my reporting is 100% accurate. I have not counted the two fraudulent payments in the total, which is why there are 3 overpayments.

Amber Valley Borough Council
No. of overpayments: 3 (3x payment errors totaling £42,357- all recovered)
- 1x LRSG tier 4 payment worth £7,357 paid in February 2021
- 2x Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant worth £35,000 in total paid in May 2020
Of which fraudulent: 0
Total worth: £42,357
 Left to recover: £0

Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

Hi Yohannes

Our Officer disagrees, please se below: -

" Not correct. See below:

Amber Valley Borough Council

No. of overpayments: 5 (5x payment errors totaling £62,357- all recovered)

- 1x LRSG tier 4 payment worth £7,357 paid in February 2021 (NOT FRAUDULENT)

- 2x Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant worth £35,000 in total paid in May 2020 (FRAUDULENT)

- 2x Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant worth £20,000 in total paid in August 2020 (NOT FRAUDULENT)

Of which fraudulent: 2

Total worth: £62,357

Left to recover: £0."

Regards

Joan Jones | Civic Links & FOI Officer

Amber Valley Borough Council
Financial Services Directorate | Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3BT
Email: [email address] | Telephone: 01773 841601 |
www.ambervalley.gov.uk
Making a Difference for Amber Valley

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Thanks, I will go with the officer's word