More than 30 council employees have resigned or been dismissed after an internal fraud investigation revealed that they tried to cheat the council out of more than £230,000.
The 12-month investigation into staff at Barking and Dagenham Council in Essex found that 31 workers were attempting to defraud their employer through money laundering, benefit fraud and deception. The council employs 8,000 staff.
The police have now launched a criminal investigation after one employee was found to have submitted false papers to support a claim for early retirement, which could have cost the council £200,000.
The worker in question has now resigned and a colleague accused of helping in the fraud faces a disciplinary hearing.
The report by the council’s audit committee revealed that another member of staff resigned after being caught committing a benefit fraud worth £30,000, while another resignation followed charges of money laundering.
One employee was caught working for another employer while claiming sick pay for their job at the council, and six employees resigned when they were asked to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK.
Councillor Graham Bramley, executive member for internal audit at the council, said: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption, whether the perpetrator is a member of staff or others.
“In many cases, prompt action by the council has saved significant sums that may otherwise have been lost.”