Four ‘high value’ fraud attempts at Lincolnshir County Council have been prevented

Four ‘high value’ fraud attempts which could have cost Lincolnshire taxpayers £1.1 million have been prevented.

However, the police won’t look for the culprits as no money was actually taken.

Lincolnshire County Council says there has been a surge of mandate fraud attempts, where legitimate payments are redirected to conmen’s bank accounts.

The incidents have been reported to Lincolnshire Police. However, a council counter-fraud report reveals that “no investigation has taken place by police as no actual financial loss has occurred to the council.”

Lincolnshire County Council says there has been a surge of mandate fraud attempts, where legitimate payments are redirected to conmen’s bank accounts

The attempts to get council money took place between April and September.

Lincolnshire county councillors were told that their investigators have a “zero tolerance” approach to fraud, and regularly present evidence to police.

Principal investigator Gary Douglas told the Audit committee: “The risk of fraud remains high, which we remind staff of on a regular basis.

“Since April 2022, there has been an increase in direct mandate fraud – four or five in last three months alone.

“We have prevented over £1 million of potential fraud against the council.

“Contractor Serco alert the council’s fraud team every time they get attacked, and we will liaise with Lincolnshire Police.

“We are currently dealing with eight cases. They are often complex, requiring significant resources.

“We have trained our team to gather the required evidence so that we can go to police with a fully-investigated case.”

He was asked by councillors whether police were giving enough support, and acknowledged that the force had limited resources to tackle fraud.

He added that the council had appealed against one case where the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to take action.

The counter-fraud report reveals that Lincolnshire Police are currently looking into five other cases.

“All of these are high value cases, and we anticipate that these will result in prosecution and recoveries of losses,” the report says.

“This further demonstrates our zero-tolerance approach and desire to ensure that perpetrators of fraud receive the appropriate sanctions.”

Lincolnshire Police has not issued a statement on the lack of investigation.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​