Reposted from Morning Star on line
Fraud convictions handed down to four former employees of disgraced back-to-work recruiter A4E have illustrated the abject failure of coalition workfare schemes, campaigners said yesterday.
A4E claimed £1.3 million from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for its Aspire to Inspire lone parent mentoring programme between 2008 and 2010.
While this money was not directly received by the employees, many of them were given bonuses for each person they helped into work or for meeting targets.
However documents apparently signed by candidates and employers to show successful job outcomes were, in fact, produced and signed by staff.
The fraud was exposed following a report by a whistleblower, which led to a DWP and Thames Valley Police investigation.
At Reading Crown Court on Wednesday Ines Cano-Uribe, 38, of Madrid; Zabar Khalil, 35, of Dolphin Road, Slough; Matthew Hannigan-Train, 30, of Westacre Close, Bristol, and Hayley Wilson, 27, of Tunmill Avenue, Springfield, Milton Keynes, were convicted of their role in the scam.
Six others had previously pleaded guilty and three were acquitted of all counts.
Responding to the verdict Boycott Workfare spokeswoman Joanna Long told the Star: “Despite these fraud convictions, there is no justice for claimants while A4E continues to be handed millions of pounds to harass us on the latest punitive workfare schemes.
“The workfare industry is a disastrous failure. It’s time to turn off the tap of taxpayer funding to its special brand of bullying, psycho-babble and workfare, backed by sanctions.”
All 10 fraudsters will be sentenced on March 30.
A4E first hit the headlines in 2012 when the firm’s chairwoman Emma Harrison, then an adviser to David Cameron, faced criticism for having pocketed £8.6m in share dividends on top of her £385,000 salary.
She resigned as A4E chairwoman but remains a part owner of the company, which continues to work with the DWP.
A DWP spokesman said: “These convictions relate to historical payments made between 2008 and 2010 and have nothing to do with current schemes.”