Four people from the West Midlands have been arrested during dawn raids on suspicion of carrying out a £5m international tax credit and maternity allowance fraud.
The three men and one woman were arrested this morning (13 February) by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as part of a joint operation with West Midlands Police and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The raids were carried out by HMRC investigators and police officers at five residential and two business addresses in Tipton, Dudley, West Bromwich, Handsworth and Bewdley.
Computers, business records, paperwork, mobile phones and cash were seized, while four vehicles were searched, including a Mercedes and a Rover.
Adrian Farley, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “We are investigating what we suspect is a major plot to rob the country of vast sums of public money by an organised crime gang operating between the UK and Europe.
“We are working closely with our law enforcement colleagues abroad to close what we believe is a serious criminal attack against the UK tax credits and benefits system.”
The three men and woman, who are all in their 30s, are being interviewed by HMRC criminal investigators.
Detective inspector Neil Postins, from West Midlands Police’s economic crime unit, said that around 30 officers were involved in the operation.
He added: “Fraud cases are notoriously complex and law enforcement agencies must work together to bring offenders to justice.
“This morning’s operation is a testament to those close relationships and another step forward in the fight against fraud.”