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Annie Hayes



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Fraudsters embellish expenses to buy diamonds and cars


Workers are swindling bosses out of £1 billion a year with spurious expense claims including plastic surgery, cars, diamond engagement rings, escorts, council tax, and honeymoons.

These are the findings of budget hotel chain Travelodge, which claims the fraudsters are also using company cash to improve their homes with new bathrooms, kitchen, gyms, wallpaper and paint, afforded by their expense submissions.

The top three expense scams exposed by respondents were:

  • Ask for extra taxi receipts and use them to claim back false taxi transport.

  • Add extra mileage when submitting an expense claim.

  • Use a cheap restaurant to entertain a business client and use an expensive restaurant for personal use. When submitting the claim use the expensive receipt.

The survey of 3,000 British employees identified the typical worker pockets an extra £17.00 each month than they claim. This means claimants make an extra £204.00 a year through dodgy expense claims.

Guy Parsons, Travelodge’s chief operating officer, said: “In today’s climate, companies cannot afford to splurge workers on ridiculous non-work related expense claims which are costing bosses over £1 billion a year.

“Even tweaks on everyday claims such as taxis, mileage and the odd bottle of wine can really rack up a business bill over the year. With the new financial year fast approaching this is the ideal time for employers to adopt a low-cost culture, starting by reviewing their expenses policy first.”

Further research findings identified a smug 43% of British workers believe swindling expense claims is a legitimate way of making extra cash and 45% of people said all their colleagues are ‘doing it’. An astonishing 84% of those polled said they didn’t even feel guilty about inventing claims.

More men (22%) have used their expense account to wine and dine the opposite sex at prestigious restaurants in contrast to just 9% of women.

The findings are less surprising given that only 8% of employees have been caught and sacked for fiddling their expenses. A shocking 60% of managers have let their team members get away with making a false expense claim.

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Annie Hayes


Read more from Annie Hayes

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