Investigation of “massive” partial unemployment fraud

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The Paris prosecution announced on Friday that it was investigating “massive” partial unemployment fraud from confinement, involving “international financial flows” which caused “more than 1.7 million euros” of damage.

According to initial investigations, “fraudulent claims for compensation were made by electronic declaration by usurping the company name and the SIRET identification number of existing companies which did not ask to benefit from partial activity grants,” explains in a statement the prosecution.

The latter seized Monday, under its national jurisdiction in the fight against organized crime of very great complexity (called Junalco), two investigations opened earlier by the prosecution of Toulouse and Limoges for “swindles in organized gang the benefits paid for employees in partial unemployment ”and“ organized gang laundering ”of these scams.

Over 1.7 million euros unduly paid

These investigations were initiated “after the discovery of similarities between many requests for partial activity authorization filed by companies”. According to a source familiar with the matter, the investigators suspect “a criminal organization of mounting fraud from abroad”.

“More than 1,740 fraudulent operations throughout the national territory in the name of 1,069 different companies requesting payments of funds to more than 170 different bank accounts” have already been identified, details the prosecution.

According to him, more than 1.7 million euros were unduly paid by the Service and Payment Agency (ASP), responsible for managing on behalf of the Ministry of Employment compensation for partial activity. However, “the payment of more than 6 million euros could be suspended as soon as the infringements were discovered,” he said.

International financial flows

“Many investigations, intended in particular to uncover the international financial flows resulting from these scams, remain to be carried out”, underlines the parquet floor, observing that they required “a strong international cooperation”.

Upon confinement and to compensate for the resulting cessation of activity, the government widened the possibility of resorting to partial unemployment in France. According to the Ministry of Labor, 7.2 million French people were on partial unemployment one or more days a week in March, 8.7 million in April and 7.8 million in May.

In late June, former Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud said in Challenges that the first 3000 checks on partial unemployment claims had resulted in “850 suspected fraud” and four procedures for “scam”.

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