The Mail on Sunday

Price surge blamed for rise in fake expenses

- By Archie Mitchell

THE soaring cost of living has been blamed for a surge in fraudulent expense claims, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Sunil Nigam, boss of company services app ExpenseOnD­emand, said there had been a 13 per cent rise in false claims this year – and he expected the trend to continue. He said tough economic conditions historical­ly lead to a surge in false claims as employees look to boost their income.

Millions of people across the UK have to pay upfront for work expenses before claiming them back from their employers. Petrol and entertainm­ent are the biggest expenditur­es.

Nigam said staff had been caught buying airline tickets for family and gifts for friends claiming they were for clients. Bogus claims include multiple submission­s for one lunch and putting in for extra mileage.

One of the firm’s clients had a mileage bill totalling £1.2million, but when workers’ claims were referenced against Google maps data it turned out it should have been £800,000.

Among the more outlandish claims were a belly dancer receipt for more than £2,500 as part of a hotel stay; £950 for a single taxi journey; and an £800 claim for a hairdresse­r to prepare for a company social.

Nigam, whose firm tracks and verifies claims to minimise fraud, said: ‘Unfortunat­ely as money gets tighter so does the increase in fraudulent expense claims as employees try to increase their income.’

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