Over 10.000 investigations into fraud with Corona emergency aid

Investment Bank Berlin homepage, via dts
Investment Bank Berlin homepage, via dts
Nationwide, public prosecutors are investigating more than 10.000 cases of fraudulent Corona emergency aid and other allegations of fraud in connection with the pandemic.

This is the result of a survey conducted by the German judges' newspaper among the justice ministries and public prosecutor's offices in the 16 federal states, which the newspapers of the “Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland” report on in their Thursday editions. The damage runs into the tens of millions.

"The criminal law processing of the corona crisis should keep the judiciary busy well into next year," said Sven Rebehn, federal manager of the German Association of Judges, the RND. "Despite the expiry of the state aid programs, the public prosecutor's offices are still reaching new suspected cases of fraudulent Corona emergency aid," said Rebehn. According to the expert, the information from paying banks about possible criminal offenses was sometimes only received by the prosecutors after a long delay. "As a rule, it is about cases of subsidy fraud that require in-depth, individual-case investigations and cannot be dealt with in a standardized way as mass proceedings." According to the survey, North Rhine-Westphalia recorded most fraud with Corona emergency aid.

More than 4.300 proceedings are pending there. The Cologne Public Prosecutor's Office alone is conducting around 900 investigations into fraud involving a subsidy volume of more than nine million euros. Berlin reports the second most proceedings on suspicion of fraudulent Corona emergency aid, where the police are investigating more than 2.000 cases. The public prosecutor's office in the capital has already received 900 of these proceedings, and the damage to taxpayers is more than six million euros.

More than 1.000 cases of fraud in connection with the pandemic are ongoing at the public prosecutor's offices in Bavaria. Almost half of the cases concern abusive applications for Corona emergency aid, the other half deal with scams such as the sale of fake protective masks, the spying of credit card data on fake websites or blackmail attempts through threatened corona infections. Hesse has so far recorded a total of around 1.000 suspected cases in connection with Corona emergency aid payments. In Hamburg too, the authorities are assuming around 1.000 proceedings that will have to be dealt with by the public prosecutor's offices in the coming weeks and months.

Investigators in Lower Saxony have so far received more than 800 cases in which there is an initial suspicion of fraud in connection with Corona aid. More than seven million euros could have flowed wrongly here. The Saxon public prosecutor's offices are investigating around 500 cases of fraud, subsidy fraud and money laundering; the previous damage amount is at least five million euros. In Saxony-Anhalt, more than 600 cases are suspected of fraudulent subsidies from the Corona aid program.

The public prosecutor's offices in Baden-Württemberg have so far initiated around 300 preliminary investigations, while there are around 250 cases in Schleswig-Holstein and more than 200 suspected cases in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In Brandenburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Bremen, the numbers are also in the lower three-digit range, Thuringia has not provided any information, reports the RND.