As you may already know, I took part in and added input into the National Audit Office (NAO) second investigation into the Bounce Back Loan scheme and did not hold back when it came to letting the audit team know about the stunts that lenders pulled on many SMEs applying for one of those loans, and the nightmare journey they put many of them through.
That investigation is now complete and was published overnight, and there are certainly some real corkers within it. I am working my way through it and will let you know of the “interesting” bits, and the first thing that caught my eye was the role that the National Investigation Service (NATIS) has in rooting out those who scammed the scheme.
That law enforcement organisation, it has been revealed, is able to and is equipped to investigate a whopping fifty, yes you read that correctly, fifty cases of alleged Bounce Back Loan fraud per year!
It appears that they will only be “kicking in the doors” of those cases in which organised criminal gangs have managed to bag at least £100,000 in BBLs.
It has also been revealed that they have been tipped off to around 2,100 cases of alleged BBL fraud as of the end of October 2021, and as such they will be rather busy investigating those cases, if they are individual cases, as it will take them some 42 years to investigate just those.
As for just how much cold, hard cash NATIS are expected to recover, well they have been set a target of £6million over the next three years.
That figure by the way is the exact same amount (£6m) that has been allocated to NATIS for the purpose investigating BBL fraud, so at best, if they hit their target, the funds recovered will match the cost of the investigations.
You couldn’t make it up.