4 A4E Fraudsters Plead Guilty.
Four former employees of scandal-hit welfare-to-work firm A4E admitted swindling taxpayers yesterday.
The guilty pleas follow a police investigation into the troubled company which is paid more than £200m by the Government each year.
Julie Grimes, 50, Aditi Singh, 30, Bindiya Dholiwar, 27, and Dean Lloyd, 36, admitted dozens of offences of fraud and forgery.
Watching A4E comments,
The Daily Mail reports that the first four ex-A4e staff in the long drawn out fraud case pleaded guilty at court in Reading yesterday. They admitted a total of 32 offences of fraud and forgery while working on a scheme called Inspire to Aspire, which ended in 2011. (There’s a fifth person who couldn’t get to the court and will plead guilty later.) The Mail claims credit for this case, but it was a whistle-blower who brought it all to light, and A4e has always claimed that it was their own audit processes which revealed the fraud, and they notified the police. However it was revealed, it is embarrassing, to say the least. Money was claimed for job outcomes which were fictitious. The fact that this first batch has pleaded guilty means we won’t get to hear the details, but it appears to have involved forging outcome forms or signatures.
Sentencing hasn’t happened yet. Eight more people are due for trial in October (!) so this drags on.
This is worth a chuckle,
A4e STATEMENT ON THAMES VALLEY POLICE INVESTIGATION – 3 FEBRUARY 2014
Four former A4e employees today (3 February 2014) admitted fraudulent activity at A4e while employed to deliver the European Social Fund (ESF) ‘Aspire to Inspire’ Lone Parent mentoring programme in the Thames Valley region.
Following the guilty pleas at Reading Crown Court today, A4e Chief Executive Andrew Dutton said:
“I am deeply disappointed that a small number of people who formerly worked for A4e on the ‘Aspire to Inspire’ contract in the Thames Valley up to 2011 clearly let down the people they were supposed to help, and in turn the taxpayer, DWP and A4e.
A4e co-operated fully with the police enquiry, after our own internal investigation first brought these incidents to light.
Since these events took place, we have augmented our controls and processes to seek to ensure that nothing like this could ever happen again. This includes implementing all of the recommendations for improvement made to us by White & Case LLP following their independent review of our core processes.
Furthermore, rigorous audits undertaken by the DWP and the Skills Funding Agency have concluded that there is no evidence of fraud on any of the contracts that we currently hold with them. A4e has, of course, committed to paying back in full the total value of unsubstantiated claims that were made to the Department for Work and Pensions as a result of the activities of these former employees.
I would also like to say thank you to our 3,000 loyal, hard-working and principled staff who each day deliver public services to the highest standards that help to improve the lives of thousands of the most vulnerable in our society. I am intensely proud of what they do and deeply sorry that the allegations have for so long cast a shadow over their good work.”
We expect there to be massive increase in fraud when this happens in April 2014.
Almost one million people will be forced to work unpaid for six months if a new government work scheme is extended across the country, a thinktank has said.
Under the Department for Work and Pensions community action programme (Cap), which has completed a pilot stage and whose rollout is expected to be announced this autumn, people on jobseeker’s allowance for longer than three years must work for six months unpaid or have their benefits stripped from them.
As indicated above, this is not “if” the scheme is introduced but when it is – in a couple of months!