MRT founder and Managing Partner Michael Rainer, explains in his analyses why severe penalties for subsidy fraud may occure.
To mitigate the economic effects of the Corona pandemic, the government has developed many assistance programs. For subsidy fraud, anyone who gave incorrect information should anticipate repercussions.
The state aid during the Corona pandemic was intended to flow as swiftly and uncomplicatedly as possible so that businesses could weather the crisis and not go bankrupt in waves. The absence of a wave of bankruptcies has prompted the authorities to investigate whether the applicants genuinely met the standards for the subsidies or whether the public aid was gained through false representations. Companies subject to the checks should take them seriously. Michael Rainer, MTR Rechtsanwalt, cautions anyone who have made fraudulent claims to anticipate being charged with subsidy fraud.
Thousands of investigations are reportedly ongoing, and allegations of subsidy fraud can spread rapidly. It should be highlighted that not only is it a crime to knowingly make false statements, but even casual behavior can result in difficulty. In its judgement dated 4 May 2021, the Federal Supreme Court made it very obvious that subsidy fraud arises if misleading information was submitted when applying for Corona help (Ref. 6 StR 137/21).
If authorities detect evidence of false information while assessing Corona aid applications, they will widen their inquiry to include, for instance, a study of the company’s tax records. If ultimately convicted, heavy punishments are to be anticipated.
If a person applies for Corona assistance and later realizes he made at least partially false assertions, he is required to correct the information. This legally sanctioned responsibility to correct may also exist if the circumstances for application have since ceased to apply in whole or in part.
In addition to the applicant being held responsible for providing false information, the respective company may also be fined.
Consequently, claims of subsidy fraud should not be regarded lightly, and those impacted should take swift action. Lawyers with expertise in white-collar crime can provide counsel.
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