Three former Hertfordshire residents have been charged with fraud offences against Hertfordshire County Council.

The three individuals – who were charged earlier this year – are alleged to have attempted to commit a £700,000 fraud against the council’s adult care services.

And the three, who are reported to be living in Germany, have been charged with the conspiracy to commit fraud and offences under the Fraud Act.

The case was reported to a meeting of the county council’s audit committee on October 14 as part of an annual review of the work of the Shared Anti-Fraud Service.

“The last case involves an alleged fraud against HCC Adult Care with the loss calculated at just over £700k,” said the report to the committee.

“Following a lengthy investigation including interviews with numerous witnesses, and searches of premises three suspects were charged earlier this year with conspiracy to commit fraud and Fraud Act offences.

“The suspects are all former Hertfordshire residents now living in Germany.

“The HCC Director of Adult Care Services has been briefed on this case throughout.”

The case is one of a small number that are highlighted as part of the review of the service’s work.

Overall the report says there were 156 allegations of fraud affecting county council services made in 2019/20 – which is 16 fewer than the year before.

Most of the allegations related to the the blue badge system, which gives drivers with certain disabilities permission to park close to their destination. But allegations also related to schools, to staff and to care.

Of the allegations that required a full investigation, 39 are reported to have been completed – with 38 are ongoing.

Fraud was identified in 17 of those completed investigations – which highlighted recoverable losses of £806,000.

And in 49 additional cases the service issued ‘compliance action’, advice or warning letters, rather than a full investigation.

Meanwhile the report also highlighted an investigation that resulted in a member of the public pleading guilty, after being caught submitting a falsified invoice for repairs to a car to the county council, in an attempt to claim £1350.

The individual was fined £200, and an additional £770 of costs and victim surcharge.

Two further outstanding insurance cases involving allegedly fraudulent claims from damages against the county council are awaiting trial.

The report also outlined the work of the service in supporting the response of the county council and other partners to the Covid-19 pandemic.

That included the procurement of a system to check applicants for grants and business rates assistance were eligible and had not ceased trading and to provide information on emerging fraud threats.

And the report says the service continues to work on at least two ‘sophisticated’ phishing email attacks ‘where the resultant losses could have been or were significant’.