80% Of Japan COVID Subsidy Applications Unverified As Fraud Cases Rise
A family of four was arrested for allegedly swindling about 960 million yen (about $7.1 million), and a Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau employee and others fraudulently received payments totaling 200 million yen, or $1.5 million, using the national government's COVID-19 subsidy program to support hard-hit businesses.
Photo Insert: Fraud cases were reported all around Japan shortly after the applications began to be accepted. The bulk of them comprised applications utilizing tax return forms that stated fake occupations, income, and other information.
Yuki Takahashi reported in the Mainichi Shimbun on June 15, 2022, that the nature of coronavirus subsidy applications makes them vulnerable to benefit fraud. The coronavirus subsidy program provides up to 2 million yen (about $15,000) to mid- and small-sized businesses whose earnings have been cut in half as a result of the pandemic.
There is no requirement to return the funds, and there are no restrictions on how they should be used.
The designated website was swamped with applications after applications began to be accepted on May 1, 2020, shortly after a statewide COVID-19 state of emergency was announced in Japan, and it became temporarily difficult to access. Around 4.24 million applications were received before the deadline of February 2021, with a total of 5.5 trillion yen (approximately $41 billion) distributed.
Fraud cases were reported all around Japan shortly after the applications began to be accepted. The bulk of them comprised applications utilizing tax return forms that stated fake occupations, income, and other information, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).
Applicants have swindled over 100 million yen in coronavirus benefits in many situations.
Fraudsters used to submit false tax return forms by pretending to have forgotten to submit the previous year's document. There have been numerous instances of fake applications being submitted under multiple names, resulting in increased financial losses due to fraud.