Crooks have tried, by usurping the identity of companies, to embezzle around 182 million euros in massive fraud in short-time working since the first confinement, AFP learned Thursday from the Paris prosecutor’s office, which confirmed information from Parisian . In total, of these 182 million euros, 54 million euros were really embezzled. The remaining 128 million euros could be blocked either before being paid out or just after.
About 7,000 reported facts
During their investigations, the investigators were able to trace the modus operandi of the crooks, who took advantage of the fact that the French government extended, from the confinement and to compensate for the resulting stoppage of activity, the possibility of resorting to partial unemployment. . Fraudsters usurped the corporate name and the SIRET identification number of existing companies to request the payment of compensation to the Service and Payment Agency (ASP), responsible for managing on behalf of the Ministry of Employment. ‘compensation for partial activity, providing contact details for other accounts.
Secondly, some also made such requests on behalf of large companies, providing contact details for the accounts of other existing companies. They then passed themselves off as the ASP to the latter to claim the restitution of these sums. According to a source familiar with the matter, the ASP reported to investigators “about 7000 facts“. Investigators have unearthed “accounts opened in France, and rebound accounts then opened which allow money to pass quickly”.
About thirty investigators mobilized
Since July 6, the Paris public prosecutor’s office has been carrying out this preliminary investigation into these fraud attempts with international ramifications, under its national competence in the fight against very complex organized crime (known as Junalco), established by the reform law. for the justice of March 23, 2019. In total, about thirty investigators are mobilized on this file, divided between the research section of Toulouse, that of Metz and the Central Office for the fight against illegal work, according to a close source folder.
On Tuesday, the labor ministry indicated that the total amount of short-time working frauds reached 225 million euros, a total also including more traditional and smaller-scale frauds, involving companies with a more classic profile.
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