Last year, figures have been released showing that approximately $1 billion of EU funds were paid out to fraudulent Claimants, with the highest number of false claims suspected coming from Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania data within Europe.
The annual report was published last month from the OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) who released a statement concluding that 890 million euros were possibly distributed to deceitful applicants in 2015, which was actually a reduction from 902 in 2014.
This lost money allows for 0.6% of the budget that would help towards funding subsidies to the agricultural and farming industries in poorer regions within the European Union.
One example of over 1,500 fraudulent cases was a 1.4-million euro payment intended to modernize a Bulgarian vegetable chilling power plant. When this case was investigated, officials found the equipment supplier and the owner of the factory to be the same individual, who had charged a higher price in order to claim the grant.
EU officials have expressed their worries that national authorities can deter farmers and those in need of funding to by administering exceptionally large fines to those found guilty of trying to take advantage of the grants and funding programs. So far only approximately half of the OLAF’s recommended prosecutions have led to prosecutions in the last few years.