fraud

Concerns of Fraud in Pfizer Vaccine Trial as Participant’s Hospitalisation with Heart Inflammation is Swept Under Carpet

You may have heard the disturbing story of Maddie de Garay, who in July 2020, aged 12, participated in Pfizer’s Covid vaccine trial of adolescents aged 12-15. Within 24 hours of receiving the second dose in early January 2021, Maddie experienced “zapping pain up and down her spine with severe abdominal pain… her toes and fingers turned white and were ice cold”. She now can barely see, suffers from tinnitus, mobility issues, vomiting, blood in her urine, numbness in her body and has at least 10-20 seizures a day. Yet her injury was recorded in the vaccine trial data as “abdominal pain” and it was asserted without investigation to be not related to the vaccine.

Another case, similarly disturbing, has now emerged of an adverse reaction during a Pfizer trial that was not recorded in the trial data, raising concerns about the integrity of the trial data and the possibility of fraud.

Augusto Roux is a 35-year old lawyer from Buenos Aires, Argentina who volunteered for Pfizer’s Covid vaccine phase 3 trial. He did so to protect his mother, who has emphysema.

On the way home after his second dose on September 9th 2020, he began feeling unwell, developed a high fever and felt very ill. He fainted on September 11th and went to the hospital on September 12th. The hospital ran tests, including a CAT scan of his chest, which showed an abnormal collection of fluid around the outside of the heart, indicating pericarditis (a form of heart inflammation).

As Vaccine Demand Collapses, U.K. Faces £4 Billion of Waste With 80% of its 650 Million Dose Stockpile Unused

The U.K. has used just 142 million of the stockpile of 650 million vaccine doses it purchased, leaving an estimated £4 billion worth of vaccines unused and, at current levels of take-up, likely going to waste. The vaccines typically have an expiration date of six to 12 months after manufacture – though it’s not clear how many of the 650 million doses have already been manufactured and put in storage and how many are on order for future manufacture and delivery.

Officials have not revealed exactly how much was paid for the Pfizer vaccines, which comprise nearly a third of the total ordered, but the U.S. Government is reputed to have paid around $20 (£16) a dose.

The Moderna vaccine is said to have cost a bit less, perhaps about $15 (£12) per dose, and the Astra Zeneca considerably less, perhaps as low as $4 (£3) per dose as it was sold at cost. There are no data on the other five types ordered, all of which are as yet completely unused.

If an average price of $10 (£8) per dose is assumed, the total bill for all the unused vaccine doses will amount to around $5 billion or £4 billion. Will the public be forgiving of this massive waste of public funds on account of it occurring with good intentions during a state of emergency? That remains to be seen.

It is however far from the only example of pandemic profligacy. The losses due to fraud and delinquent business loans are colossal, with City AM reporting that the Treasury’s £4.3bn fraud write-off is likely to be eclipsed by £20bn of Covid loan defaults. The Government has also written off £8.7bn it spent on protective equipment bought during the pandemic, with £673m of equipment unusable, £750m not used before its expiry date, £2.6bn of equipment judged to be unsuitable for use in the NHS, and £4.7bn being due to the Government paying more for it during the acute global shortage than it is now worth. The Government also spent £569m buying 20,900 ventilators, of which only 2,150 (10%) were used, the rest being left idle in a Ministry of Defence warehouse.

Losses to “Fraud and Error” From Taxpayer-Backed Covid Loan Scheme Estimated at £15 Billion. Where Did it All Go?

Criminals have been caught with suitcases stuffed with cash provided by HM Treasury under the Government’s Covid loan scheme that has been repeatedly abused by fraudsters – with £50,000 gambled by one claimant, and another using part of £35,000 on garden improvements. MailOnline has more.

Border guards caught several people “carrying large amounts of money” believed to be from the Government’s Bounce Back loan scheme which was then seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Home Office said.

Other cases of abuse include a pub landlord who pocketed £29,000 in fake “consultancy fees”, a soft drinks company owner who inflated his turnover by 100 times to get the maximum loan, and a restaurant boss who was given a loan despite having been evicted from his premises for failing to pay rent.

As much as £17 billion out of the £47 billion officials paid out in Bounce Back loans will never be paid back, according to recent estimates, and of that about £4.9 billion is thought to have been lost to fraud.

Overall, “fraud and error” across all the Government’s Covid programmes, including the furlough scheme, is expected to have cost the taxpayer £15.7 billion. However, a fraud expert warned the figure is “just the tip of the iceberg” as more cases emerge. Those we know of already include:

• Steven Davison, 32, received a £35,000 loan but spent it on gambling debts and a garden renovation
• Ciaran Twomey, landlord, was granted £50,000 even though his pub company was no longer operating
• Adrian Cusiac, a builder from north London, spent £50,000 loan on poker and said “I’m not proud of myself”
• Unnamed wholesaler from Southsea claimed more than £20,000 through a shell firm he bought off the shelf
• Unnamed ex-fruit and veg trader claimed £28,000 and used it to pay himself £10,000 and buy a £2,400 watch.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: The scale of similar fraud in the United States is even greater. The Federal Government cannot say for sure how much of the more than $900 billion in pandemic-related unemployment relief has been stolen, but credible estimates range from $87 billion to $400 billion – at least half of which went to foreign criminals. NBC News has more.

Fraudsters May Have Stolen £37 Billion in Covid Money From Public Purse, According to Oxford University Analysis

Fraudsters might have stolen as much as £37 billion of Covid money from the public purse, experts say. The Mail on Sunday has more.

The staggering sum, based on an analysis by academics from the University of Oxford, is vastly higher than previous estimates, and more than double the £16 billion presented as a possibility to the Public Accounts Committee earlier this year.

In a damning review of the latest evidence from several public bodies, the report says criminal organisations – who were ‘fraud ready’ before the pandemic – took advantage of the ‘reckless’ lack of anti-fraud measures to siphon huge amounts from Government initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Eat Out To Help Out.

Around 374 such schemes were introduced by various Government departments during 2020 and 2021 to support individuals and businesses hit hard by Covid measures, as well as to further research and support vaccine development.

The National Audit Office’s Covid cost tracker estimates that they have cost £370 billion to implement.

But the Oxford team’s review, which was given to the Mail on Sunday ahead of being published Saturday, concludes ‘at least ten per cent’ of the cash – equivalent to £37 billion, or one third of the total NHS annual budget – is likely to have been lost to fraud.

“When the decision to put into place severe and unprecedented restrictions was taken, governmental support for those worst affected was a sensible and humane act, regardless of the sums involved,” the review read.

“However, because of the size of the programmes and the speed with which they were put in place, anti-fraud checks should have been part of the programmes. However, in several instances, they were not.

“If we add the lack of pandemic preparation, the Government’s appetite for hasty risk-taking fed by flawed predictions of modellers and general media frenzy, together with the fragmentation of anti-fraud activities, all these factors created a greenhouse effect for criminals to fleece the public purse.”

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, last night condemned the scale of the fraud highlighted by the review.

“Abuse of the Covid schemes will appal hard-working taxpayers, who will ultimately have to foot the bill,” he said.

“Support had to be deployed quickly without reams of red tape tying things up, but the scale of the abuse will shock those who played by the rules while worrying about their jobs and families.

“Ministers should protect taxpayers with more stringent measures to fine and prosecute the fraudsters that fiddled the system.”

The detailed analysis, which focused on the largest of the government schemes, was carried out by Dr Tom Jefferson and Professor Carl Heneghan, from the CEBM.

Worth reading in full.

Fraudsters Steal £5 Billion By Exploiting Lockdown Loan Scheme

According to the National Audit Office (NAO), fraudsters heavily exploited the Covid Bounce Back Loan scheme, implemented by the Government to help small and medium-sized businesses survive the impact of lockdown restrictions. The project cost roughly £47 billion, with fraudsters pocketing £4.9 billion, or 11% of the total figure. RT has the story.

Established during the pandemic, the scheme offered loans of up to £50,000 to small and medium-sized businesses to help them cope with and recover from the pandemic. Having now closed, it handed out 1.5 million loans to a quarter of U.K. businesses, totalling around £47 billion.

An investigation by the NAO has discovered that “high levels of estimated fraud” was carried out by criminals after anti-fraud measures were “implemented too slowly“.

Out of the loans handed out, 11% have been deemed to be fraudulent, as of March, costing the U.K. Government nearly £4.9 billion.

“The true level of fraud will become clearer over time,” Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, stated, adding “it is clear Government needs to improve on its identification, quantification and recovery of fraudulent loans within the scheme“.

The NAO’s assessment warns the U.K. Government that more than a third of the loans, valued at £17 billion, might never be repaid due to both a combination of criminals fraudulently claiming money and businesses defaulting on their debt.

Worth reading in full.

NHS Vaccine Passports Being Sold to Unvaccinated Brits for up to £750

Amid threats of unvaccinated Brits being barred from certain jobs and events, genuine NHS vaccine passports are being sold to those who have chosen not to get ‘jabbed’ on the messaging app Telegram. The Mail on Sunday has the story.

The certificates – which are uploaded on to the NHS’s mobile phone app – should only be available to those who have been fully inoculated.

They can be used for foreign travel and to gain access to nightclubs, stadiums and other venues for big events. They will also be used to ensure that care home staff have been fully vaccinated when it becomes mandatory next month.

But [the Mail on Sunday’s] investigation exposes the fraudsters who are selling genuine passes for up to £750 each on the messaging app Telegram to people who won’t have the jab.

An undercover reporter bought an NHS vaccine pass, including a unique digital QR code, on behalf of someone who has not yet been vaccinated. It was uploaded on to the official NHS app four days after the order was taken.

After verifying the pass was genuine, the QR code was used to gain access to a nightclub in London and the Louvre Museum in Paris. It was also used to successfully fill in the Government’s passenger locator form, which is intended to protect Britain’s borders by ensuring that those entering the U.K. have been double-jabbed.

After being alerted by the MoS, NHS England said it had launched an investigation and had passed our dossier of evidence to the relevant authorities. …

The illicit trade also throws into doubt strict new rules in Scotland and Wales. Since Friday people in Scotland have had to prove they are doubled-jabbed before entering certain venues and events. Proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid test, will be mandatory for some venues in Wales from October 11th.

Worth reading in full.

Will British Travellers to France Pose as Lorry Drivers to Avoid PCR Test Bill?

A reader has drawn attention to the likelihood of some people posing as lorry drivers to avoid paying hefty PCR test fees.

According to the Government’s website, lorry drivers and hauliers can now get tested while on the road.

This means that they can travel from services to services between drops and get tested according to the following rules.

When to get tested

You will need to take at least three tests, if you will be staying in England for 10 days or longer.

You must take the first test within two days of your arrival. The day of your arrival is counted as day zero.

You must take the second test three days after your first test and the third test three days after your second test.

So if your first test is on day one, your second test will be on day four and your third test on day seven.

If your first test is on day two, your second test will be day five and your third test on day eight.

Apparently, these tests are free.

I wonder what will happen if they put France on the “red list”, as Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden seems to be considering… I suspect if you are a haulier you will still be able to come in from France – otherwise, where will all the food come from?

As has been seen from a previous LS post where the author set up a “removals” company and went skiing, one thinks this could be open to abuse.

I live five minutes away from the 24 hours South Mimms testing centre – I do wonder what is to stop me from getting free tests. Also, I wonder if van rentals will start popping up as members of the public suddenly become hauliers to find a reasonable excuse to go abroad!

Stop Press: In England, Lloyds Pharmacy is cutting costs for PCR tests to the bone by undercutting Boots by (wait for it!) £1! Its now only £119 per test with them, which means the cost of the PCR tests you’ll need to go on a trip to France has been slashed from £360 to £357. Bon voyage!