Welfare-to-work employees face fraud charges

Dozens of counts  allege bonuses secured by falsely claiming jobs found for unemployed

Nine workers at the welfare-to-work firm A4e have been charged with fraud for allegedly faking documents that falsely claimed they had found unemployed people jobs.

The six women and three men from the company – which was paid £200m a year by the Government for training job-seekers and finding them work – face dozens of counts of fraud for allegedly securing bonuses on the basis of fake documents.

The police inquiry is continuing but prosecutors have not been asked to consider charges against the former head of A4e, the entrepreneur Emma Harrison, who last year quit her role as the Government’s “family champion” as allegations unfolded.

The nine, who will appear in court next month, include seven recruiters and a contract manager and face a total of 60 charges including fraud and forgery, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

They are alleged to have claimed reward payments for putting people into work although some had not been found jobs or even been registered on the company’s books.

The charges were announced as it emerged that A4e had been punished for poor performance with a cut in the amount of work it receives from Whitehall. Ministers have previously claimed that the company’s contracts would be finished if there was evidence of “systemic failure”.

A4e is one of the biggest operators of the Government’s welfare-to-work scheme which rewards companies if they are able to find lasting jobs for clients. The company made a pre-tax profit of £15.1m in 2011, but slumped to a £2.1m loss last year amid the controversy. The providers secure most of their money when someone has stayed in work for six months but police were investigating allegations that bonus payments were secured even when workers were in jobs for just a day.

Sue Patten, CPS head of fraud, said: “The CPS has authorised charges against six women and three men in connection with alleged fraudulent activity at Action 4 Employment (A4e), a social purpose company contracted by the Department of Work and Pensions. It is alleged that between February 2009 and February 2013 nine A4e employees including one contract manager, seven recruiters and an administrator, employed across three A4e offices in the South East of England, committed numerous offences of fraud.”

A4E stressed that it had improved its practices since the alleged offences took place. “The investigation by Thames Valley police relates to alleged incidents which date back to 2009 and were uncovered by A4e’s own internal controls,” it said in a statement. “We referred the matter to the Department for Work and Pensions, which then referred the allegations to the police.”

The accused are due to appear before magistrates in Slough on October 14.

News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes