Three people have been arrested as part of a joint National Investigation Service (NATIS), Wiltshire Police and the South West Regional Organised Crime unit investigation into abuse of the government-backed Bounce Back Loan scheme.
The raids took place in Swindon, Highworth and Melksham, in Wiltshire on Wednesday 21 April.
A 42 year-old woman, a 33 year old man and an 18-year old female were arrested for offences including conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. All three were taken to Gablecross Police Station in Swindon for questioning.
Officers executed search warrants at five addresses with evidence being seized, including a quantity of cash and high-value lifestyle items.
The fraud involved the use of false information and documents to obtain Bounce Back Loans from a number of financial institutions.
The suspects have been released under investigation, following property searches, interviews and enquiries are ongoing.
Under the Bounce Back Loans scheme, Government-backed loans of up to £50,000 were provided to small and medium-sized businesses to help them stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme closed on 31 March.
Michael Dineen, Deputy Director Operations at the NATIS said: “This is one of many operations planned by the National Investigation Service to target the abuse of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. We will continue the great work seen here, alongside our colleagues from other Law Enforcement agencies, to catch and prosecute these criminals.”
Detective Superintendent Steve Kirby, Head of Wiltshire Serious and Organised Crime Unit said: “Our joint operation with NATIS will help make a real difference to our on-going work to robustly tackle offenders who are responsible for this type of financial criminality which negatively affects our communities.
“This work, involving the national agency and our officers and staff, sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate those who think that they can flout the law and get away with it.”