Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

200 trafficked in benefits scam

Scotland Yard said a benefits scam by a Polish gang cost the UK more than two million pounds
Scotland Yard said a benefits scam by a Polish gang cost the UK more than two million pounds

A Polish gang trafficked more than 200 people to the UK as part of a multimillion-pound benefit fraud scam, police said.

Investigators claim criminals tricked foreign victims into signing papers to open bank accounts with the promise of work in Britain.

A two-year Scotland Yard campaign, supported by Customs officials and Polish police, culminated this week after more than 30 arrests in swoops across both countries.

Investigators claim at least 230 victims were targeted in Poland.

Two gang suspects - a man and a woman, both in their 40s - were arrested in London and bailed until next month.

The gang was said to have used victims' details to apply for more than £2 million of tax credits and other benefits.

Cash from the benefits was siphoned from the UK accounts to banks in Poland.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "It is believed the scam has cost the UK more than £2 million.

"Uniformed Polish police officers joined officers from the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command (SCD9), Territorial Support Group (TSG) and local officers to search addresses in south and east London for further evidence.

"The search warrants coincided with police back in Poland arresting suspected members of the gang as they gathered for a wedding. Most of the victims are now back in Poland and have been supported by the Polish authorities."

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