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If you are the subject of fraud allegations, the impact can be traumatic. With the enactment of the Fraud Act 2006, the Government made the process of prosecuting cases of fraud easier.

As such, the number of convictions for this type of financial crime has increased in the intervening period, and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Crown Prosecutions Service (CPS) routinely rely on this legislation to pursue prosecutions for alleged fraud in a variety of sectors. Our Criminal Defence Team specialises in providing legal representation in relation to all types of fraud, and is dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible defence.

Fraud cases will often be prosecuted by specially trained lawyers with experience in dealing with these complex cases. For those who are convicted, the consequences can be severe, including financial penalties, prison sentences, a criminal record and damage to an individual or business’s reputation. In order to protect you, your family and your business you need access to the best available legal expertise in order to conduct a robust defence in relation to any charges made against you. The Financial Crime Solicitors at Wilford Smith have the required skills, knowledge and determination to ruthlessly develop a top level strategy on their client’s behalf, ensuring the best outcome in any case.

What is fraud?

Fraud is generally seen to involve the use of a false pretence by an individual as a means of inducing another person to provide money or goods on the basis of that false pretence. It is often distinguished from theft in that the person committing the fraud will normally receive the money or goods with the other person’s consent. In fraud cases, the victim will normally have chosen to give up their money or goods willingly.

There are many different types of fraud and cases are often complex in nature. When acting on behalf of someone accused of committing fraud, a solicitor will regularly be required to consider detailed financial and documentary evidence, which can in many cases date back years, if not decades. Because of the challenging nature of these investigations, it is important that you instruct an experienced fraud lawyer. The legal specialists at Wilford Smith are experts in advising our clients in relation to fraud investigations, providing the highest level of advice and representation for both individuals and businesses.

Types of fraud

Individual fraud

Individual fraud is amongst the most common type of financial crime. Examples include advanced fee fraud which, in its most basic form, takes place when someone pays money for goods or services that the supplier fails to provide. Today, this type of fraud often occurs on the internet and may take the form of inheritance fraud or dating services. Another common type of individual fraud is investment fraud, such as ‘boiler room’ fraud where individuals are persuaded to buy shares in a company that does not exist.

Public sector fraud

Public sector fraud takes place when a local authority is provided with false information in order that a person or group gain financial benefit that they are not entitled to. Public sector fraud may be carried out by individuals, organisations or businesses. A common example is tax fraud and benefit fraud, whereby an individual provides false details about their earnings in order to pay a lower rate of tax, or to claim state benefits that they would not otherwise be eligible for. This also encompasses the false claiming of public funding, when individuals, organisations or businesses apply for public funding or grants based on falsified information. The defrauding of HM Revenue and Customs is a further example of public sector fraud, often occurring by way of tax evasion when a company misrepresents their position in order to avoid paying the full amount of tax.

Supporting activities

Actions which are associated with or supportive of the commission of fraudulent activities can also result in criminal charges. Identity theft, whereby an individual obtains another person’s personal details by deception, is one such activity. Commonly, this will involve the accessing of a person’s date of birth, address or bank details. Similarly, the opening of a bank account under an assumed name comes within the scope of fraud. Computer hacking (the accessing of a closed computer system by an individual who does not have permission to do so) is considered an activity supportive of fraud. Computer hacking cases are often challenging to negotiate, and you may still be charged even if no activity was carried out once the computer system was accessed. Corruption is also considered a supporting activity, with the Bribery Act 2010 defining this as the giving or receiving of a bribe, bribing a foreign public official or failing to put in place adequate measures to prevent bribery taking place. There are significant consequences for individuals or businesses found guilty of committing such offences, including heavy financial penalties, substantial prison sentences, removal of assets, a criminal record and damage to their business and reputation.

Contact our Expert Fraud Defence Lawyers, England and Wales

Wilford Smith’s Criminal Defence Team takes pride in its reputation for unique representation, giving clients a service that is exceptionally strategic and results driven, and are able to attract the highest calibre barristers to provide support when necessary. Fraud is an extremely complex area of law, but with years of experience in handing such cases on behalf of our clients, we are best placed to advise you and to conduct your defence in court where necessary. We know how distressing a criminal investigation can be and will ensure that you are given sympathetic, straightforward advice as part of our client focused and highly personal service.

Contact our specialist Fraud Team today on 01709 828044 to find out how we can help.

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