Non existent kid fraud investigation

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    Alex G
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    From the Courier (link at bottom)

    A MAJOR inquiry into allegations of fraud is under way at the Inland Revenue contact centre in Dundee, it has emerged.

    Sidlaw House, in the city’s technology park, opened two years ago and handles inquiries from throughout the UK on working families tax credit and child credit.

    It is understood the alleged fraud relates to the names of non-existent children being added to applications to artificially boost pay-outs. It is claimed an English-based gang may be behind the scheme.

    An Inland Revenue spokeswoman yesterday said it was official policy to neither confirm nor deny if investigations were taking place. However, she added that they constantly monitored their systems and would take action if there was a cause for concern.

    She was unable to confirm that several staff at the centre have been suspended.

    Tayside police aided the inquiry. It is understood contact centre staff and other people are the subject of reports to the procurator fiscal.

    The contact centre is one of several in the UK set up to handle millions of calls from the public about tax credits. They were felt to be more efficient than offering a face-to-face service in smaller local offices.

    Sidlaw House was originally earmarked for a mobile phone company but, when it decided not to go ahead with its operation, the Revenue took a 15-year lease on the building and quickly built up a workforce of around 500.

    Chancellor Gordon Brown has said about 12,000 jobs will go in cutbacks at the merged Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise operation and it is understood staff in Dundee have been worried about downsizing. However, the Revenue spokeswoman yesterday said the plan was unlikely to affect contact centres and any job cuts would be achieved through natural wastage rather than compulsory redundancies.

    [url]http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2004/11/01/newsstory6485543t0.asp[/url]

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