Between the partial unemployment device, the solidarity fund and fraud, the “whatever it costs” to the French is expensive for public finances: a hundred billion euros. Under partial unemployment, in 48 hours and without any control, companies have been able to obtain assistance for any employee, even imaginary. Enough to whet the appetite of crooks, big or small … These thousands of frauds committed since the start of confinement, in March 2020, labor inspectors have denounced them. They would amount to 225 million euros.
500,000 checks carried out?
In January 2021, the Ministry of Labor communicated the figures for this fraud: it would concern less than 1% of the 27 billion distributed under partial unemployment. These 225 million euros represent a large sum all the same … but the Ministry of Labor claims to have already recovered more than half. How could the money be recovered? All requests for an interview from the Ministry of Labor were refused.
Contacted by journalists, a union official at the labor inspectorate wonders about the figures put forward by his ministry. More than 1 million 100,000 claims have been submitted for partial unemployment, he underlines. The figure of 500,000 checks does not seem realistic to him.
“To arrive at this figure, the ministry mixes cabbages and carrots”
“To arrive at this figure, believes Simon Picou, the ministry mixes cabbages and carrots: real checks carried out in situ in companies, with request and examination of documents, return to the employer, things that take time, and simple email exchanges or checks on software, which go much faster … He mixes all this knowingly, to arrive at an impressive number of checks, which is reassuring for citizens … “
The journalists questioned another inspector, who deplores the sluggishness of the administration. The investigator would have done everything to recover the money of the fraudsters, even threatening them with prison, but the state payment body would have refused refunds … “We were criticized by the paying agency, which did not know why the money was coming back to his account, and from which company the money came from, he asserts. Obviously it must have been too much work, and so they said we had to drop that solution. “
Extract from “Whatever it costs? Investigation of the Covid crooks”, a document to see in “Further investigation” April 8, 2021.
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