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Fraud

Fraud

 

Our crime department includes a highly specialised team of Solicitors with extensive experience in defending people who have been accused of fraud. Allegations of fraud can be highly damaging to your personal and professional reputation and it is imperative that you seek legal advice as soon as possible after you are made aware of fraud allegations against you.

 

Individual Fraud

 

  • Advance fee fraud
  • Passport and ID Fraud
  • Investment Fraud

 

Public Sector

 

  • Tax and Benefit Fraud
  • HM Customs and Revenue
  • Fraudulently claiming public funding

 

Supporting Activities

 

  • Corruption
  • Identity theft
  • False bank accounts
  • Computer Hacking

 

Confiscation and Asset Recovery

 

Individual Fraud

 

Fraud operated by individual people is among the most common types of this crime. If you have been accused of operating a fraudulent scheme similar to those detailed below, our specialist team of fraud solicitors will be able to advise you how to proceed and defend you at trial if becomes necessary to do so.

 

Advance Fee Fraud

 

Advance fee fraud, in its simplest form, occurs when someone pays money in advance for a good or service that the provider has no intention of providing. These are commonplace on the internet and can masquerade themselves in the form of racing tips, dating services, inheritance fraud etc. Authorities in the UK and around the world are constantly looking to shut down these operations and prosecute those carrying them out. If you have been made aware of an accusation of advance fee fraud against you it is important that you seek legal advice immediately. The process of compiling the evidence for a defence of this nature can be a lengthy process so it is essential that you start the process as quickly as possible.

 

Passport and ID Fraud

 

To be involved in the making or use of false documents is a serious offence. The authorities take this area of fraud very seriously and you could be the subject of investigation if you are thought to:

 

  • Have a false document for your own use.
  • Have a false document for the use of someone you know (this can include children).
  • Have made false documents either for your own use or to sell/give to someone else.
  • Own any equipment or material that could be used to make forged documents – such as an official rubber stamp.
  • Be involved in the making of any material that could be used to make forged documents.

 

If you have been accused of passport and ID fraud, you should contact our fraud team immediately so that we can begin the process of defending you against the allegations.

 

If you are not a British citizen and you have been found with false travel documents, your immigration status could be altered. Our immigration team will be able to give you further advice on how to proceed if you find yourself in this position.

 

Investment Fraud

 

Investment fraud is becoming increasingly professional and authorities are under pressure to investigate any financial activity that appears irregular. Fraudulent investment schemes can come in a number of forms:

 

  • ‘Ponzi’/Pyramid schemes in which targeted investors expect a high return on an advanced sum of money in a very short space of time.
  • ‘Boiler room’ fraud in which victims are persuaded to purchase shares in a company that usually do not exist – or else they are sold to the buyer for a price far higher than their market value. The sellers usually operate by cold-calling targeted individuals and pressuring them into buying shares over the phone. The callers will usually be based in a foreign country which makes the money they extract from their victims very difficult to recover.
  • ‘Recovery Room’ fraud is an additional form of investment fraud that boiler room schemes give way to. In these cases, fraudsters convince their victims that they can help them recover sums of money lost as a result of being the victim of a boiler room fraud. They will ask for an upfront fee to allegedly cover costs of their work and for their services.

 

If you have been accused of operating a scheme similar to these, you should seek legal advice immediately. Our specialists have extensive experience dealing with high profile fraud cases and will be able to represent you at every stage of the legal process.

 

Public Sector

 

Defrauding a local authority can carry serious consequences. An act of fraud of this nature occurs when an individual benefits financially as a result of providing information they know to be false to a local authority. If you have been accused of public sector fraud, one of our team will be able to explain the allegation to you and compile the evidence you will need to form the basis of your defence. Our team are very experienced at dealing with these matters and will be able to act on your behalf.

 

Tax and Benefit Fraud

 

Knowingly providing false information to your local authority so that you pay a lower level of tax constitutes a fraud offence. Our fraud team includes an experienced number of solicitors who will be able to help you if you find yourself accused of such an offence.
The most common types of tax and benefit fraud are:

 

  • Council tax fraud – knowingly providing false information or documentation in order to qualify for a council tax exemption, thereby lowering the total payable amount of tax is a common example of public sector fraud.
  • Non-domestic rate fraud – if business activity is carried out at an address which is classed for tax purposes as a domestic property, an offence of fraud is being committed.
  • Patient charge evasion – Falsely claiming to be exempt for prescription charges or using a false identity in order to so do is a form of fraud.
  • Claiming benefits from the local authorities by providing false information.

 

HM Customs and Revenue

 

Defrauding HM Customs and Revenue is usually done by false claims or statements concerning:

 

  • Direct tax
  • Indirect tax
  • Tax credits

 

An offence of fraud against HM Customs and Revenue will occur in the event of:

 

  • Tax evasion: this is when a company or individual misrepresents their situation so they avoid paying the full amount of tax they owe.
  • Theft: this is when a company or individual claims back tax that they are not eligible for.

 

Fraudulently Claiming Public Funding

 

When funding or grants from a government body are claimed by either individuals or organisations using false information that they know to be false at the time of giving it, they may be charged with fraudulently claiming public funding. If you face an accusation of this kind of fraud, it is important you seek legal advice as soon as you are able to. Our fraud solicitors have a high level of expertise in this area of the law and will be able to represent you all the way through your case.

 

Supporting Activities

 

The commission of fraud can be a very damaging crime and as a result, activities that could be seen as associated with or supportive of fraudulent activities are also punishable as criminal offences. If you are accused of any of following offences or similar, contact our criminal department to speak to a fraud specialist about how to proceed with your defence.

 

Corruption

 

Bribery is dealt with very seriously by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The Bribery Act 2010 is the main source of law in this area and identifies the four main types of corruption as:

 

  • Giving a bribe
  • Receiving a bribe
  • Bribing a foreign public official
  • Failing to prevent bribery

 

The level of responsibility you hold to protect yourself from accusations of bribery is very high. As a business, your best defence against a charge of corruption is to prove you have sound anti-bribery measures in place. If you find yourself at the receiving end of a corruption charge, our fraud team will be able to represent your case with a high level of expertise.

 

Identity theft and fraud

 

If you deceptively obtain the personal details of someone – such as their date of birth, address, bank details etc, you could be accused of identity theft. If you then go on to carry out almost any kind of financial transaction using these details, it will be seen as an act of identity fraud. The punishments for these offences are very severe and it is imperative you seek legal advice as soon as you are made aware that you have been accused of these acts or similar.

 

False bank accounts

 

If a bank account is opened under an assumed name, an act of fraud is committed. The implications of being charged with this offence are very serious and you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Our fraud specialists will be able to help you trace the activity that has led to your arrest and present your explanation before a judge on your behalf.

 

Computer Hacking

 

Dishonestly accessing a closed computer system, even if no activity is carried out once the system has been entered, amounts to an of computer hacking. If you have been accused of this crime you must contact a defence lawyer immediately as the evidence in such cases is often complex and will require an expert to go through it carefully. Our fraud team have a lot of experience in defending individuals who have been accused of cybercrime and will be able to advise you accordingly.

 

Confiscation and Asset Recovery

 

Since the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the courts powers to confiscate assets have increased dramatically. This legislation allows for suspected assets to be seized right at the beginning of a criminal investigation. Our crime department will be able to explain the nature of the allegations against you and appeal process – should it be applicable in your case. There are two types of order that you may find it helpful to be familiar with if the courts are trying to confiscate your assets:

 

Restraint Orders:

 

If the authorities believe that you are profiting from criminal activity, it may issue a restraint order which would stop you from being able to move your assets overseas or transfer them into someone else’s name. You will usually still be allowed to access enough funds for reasonable living expenses.

 

Confiscation Orders

 

A confiscation order often follows a restraint order – it is treated similarly to a fine and is enforced by the Magistrates. A confiscation order will require you to pay a given sum of money, you can chose to do this voluntarily or the courts can seize it from your assets. In most cases they will be able to order your bank to pay the required sum, or as much of it as possible, from your account without your permission. In some instances refusing to pay can lead to a prison sentence. 

 

It is important that you contact one of our specialist confiscation team as soon as you are aware of there being a court order against you. Our specialists have dealt with very complex fraud cases in the past and will be able to help you collate the necessary evidence to support your case. 

 


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