9 Dec 2017

Romanian crooks deported - SNP concerned for their families

An organised crime network that fraudulently secured almost £1 million of public money has been broken up after an international police operation.

The benefit and tax fraud was taking place on a staggering scale in Govanhill, Glasgow, an immigration official said. A major operation involving Police Scotland, the National Crime Agency, the Home Office, HMRC, Border Force and the DWP found a series of bogus companies had been established in the neighbourhood to facilitate and provide cover for the fraudulent scheme.

The Home Office has confirmed that dozens of Romanians have been removed from the UK in recent weeks in connection with the exercise, called Operation Mighty.

Ian Tyldesley, head of immigration enforcement for Scotland, said: “HMRC identified fraudulent child tax credit and other benefit claims involving 58 people in Govanhill. Those benefits have now been stopped. The total sum was around £1 million and the scale of benefits abuse was quite staggering.”

Specialist officers from the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit are conducting a separate investigation in Govanhill, prompted by a Times report which suggested that vulnerable children were being sold for abuse in the district.

Mr Tyldesley confirmed that as a result of the fraud investigation 60 people were issued with a notice stating they were liable to be removed from the UK. Of those, 36 have already been forced to leave the country. He also revealed that Border Force, the Home Office’s enforcement unit, had denied 14 people entry to the UK at Glasgow airport and elsewhere in connection with the operation.

A Home Office spokesman said: “[Operation Mighty] has produced significant results to date, including 36 removals, a fall in crime and the prevention of 58 fraudulent tax credit claims totalling nearly £1 million.”

A Home Office insider said “solicitors and nine bogus companies were identified as being involved in benefit fraud and abuse of European Economic Area treaty rights”. He declined to give more information on the role played by solicitors but confirmed that none of those involved were British citizens.

The 36 who have been removed from the UK, almost all of whom are understood to be men, are from Romania, as are eight more people who are believed to be detained in Dungavel immigration removal centre. The remainder of the 60, which includes two Iranians and one Slovakian, are either believed to have left the UK voluntarily or are awaiting a final removal order.

The announcement that the 36 Romanians had effectively been deported provoked concern from councillors and community groups. At a meeting of the Govanhill Regeneration Group earlier this week it was suggested that women and children were experiencing poverty because of the expulsion of the men who had previously provided for them.

Mhairi Hunter, SNP councillor for Govanhill, said: “We have a duty of care to these families. We have identified a serious issue here, which we are going to have to take forward.”


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I assume the bogus companies issued bogus wage slips so working tax credits can be claimed plus Housing Benefit. Its not just Romanians doing this.

Every time I read about record numbers in work, I wonder how many are actual jobs. Its very easy to get bogus payslips - just google 'payslip plus', they will sell you payslips which they boast will be accepted by HMRC.