How Fraudulent are we in the UK?

How Fraudulent are we in the UK?Very. The Serious Fraud Office estimates that fraud costs the British economy at least £38 billion a year which is an enormous amount of money to lose. This has enormous ramifications in the lives of individuals and the success or failure of businesses and corporations.

Fraud comes in many forms and can be seemingly innocuous or incredibly complex and 50 shades in between. If you lie about your circumstances when filling out a bank form for a loan, that is fraud.

There is individual fraud and corporate fraud. Witness those badly written spam emails attempting to defraud unsuspecting recipients of their savings by claiming a phantom inheritance, or dubious winnings, or blatant pleas from a foreign banker who has ostensibly salted millions away and needs your legitimate bank account in order to launder the money. Then there is enormous fraud perpetuated on an industrial scale in corporations involving false accounting, phantom infantry, share-selling scams, tax evasion or simple diversion of goods or funds.

As the economy has tightened hardship has increased and profit margins have contracted to the point where more and more people are willing to take a chance and risk prison and fines by perpetrating fraud at different levels. Fraud statistics are getting worse, not better.

The woman clerk who fiddles her expenses by putting in fake receipts, the charity that has thousands siphoned off to pay for a director’s lavish lifestyle, the avoidance of taxes and payments, the benefits cheats, even MPs who make bogus claims for non-existent properties… these have all hit the headlines recently.

Proof positive that wherever there is an opportunity to divert funds from a legitimate source for illicit gain, then the temptation can provide too much for those entrusted with responsibility for the money.

Any trickery that allows one party to gain a financial advantage over another illegally is fraud. It is often said that fraud is a ‘victimless crime’, but nothing could be further from the truth. Fraud almost always impacts on victims. Many large-scale frauds target ordinary people and can cause devastating loss and distress. Even where there are no direct losses to companies or individuals, there can be stress and emotional concerns that need compensating for.

Many fraud cases these days are perpetrated over the internet which adds further complication to an already complex crime. In a world where millions of pounds can be transferred from bank to bank and country to country in the click of a mouse, authorities and agencies fighting fraud have to be on their toes to act upon the tell tale signs and react accordingly.

Forensic accountants are brought in to investigate fraud and follow the paper or electronic “trail” to find out what really happened to the money or goods. This is often a complicated and time-consuming process.

At Frenkels we can assist with many types of fraud investigations including, civil fraud, criminal fraud and proceeds of crime.

Our main areas of fraud investigations cover corporate fraud (including employee fraud), criminal defence, Proceeds of Crime and computer forensics. We have extensive experience in investigating corporate or employee frauds, preparing criminal defence reports for the Court, or determining the true value of a crime under the Proceeds of Crime act. Our work covers both privately funded and publicly funded investigations.

If you’re looking for advice in any aspect of forensic accountancy, then do get in touch via Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or by visiting our website

By Vitek Frenkel – find me via Google+

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