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Although part of criminal law, fraud comes in many guises, such as identity fraud, land banking fraud, corporate fraud, on-line fraud, mobile phone fraud, etc.
Fraud is defined by Action Fraud, UK’s national reporting centre as “….. when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, often financial, over another person. White collar crime is on the increase. It is estimated that the United Kingdom will lose approximately £190 billion in 2016 through fraud.
Prosecutions for fraud are on the increase. Serious Fraud Office investigates and prosecutes the most serious cases of fraud. Upon conviction prison sentences can be heavy and many will suffer financial hardship through restraint and confiscation orders. Defence requires multi-disciplinary approach. They have been established for over 30 years and defended in many serious fraud cases. Their work for the client begins before the interview by the authorities. They see the client and establish whether it is better for the client to submit a prepared statement or to answer questions. There can be restraint orders and they need to be robustly defended by ensuring that the money permitted for living expenses is adequate and where it is not, an application is made to the court if it is not possible to negotiate a better outcome.
The defence preparations can be complicated. There is often the need to analyse banking and accounting records and in some case telephone records. In many cases schedules have to be prepared and analysed. In suitable cases interpreters need to be employed to assist with the defence.
In many fraud cases the volume of prosecution documentation can be daunting. An experienced solicitor will sort the non-relevant from the relevant for the client to peruse and provide instructions. It is not just the analysis of the prosecution material that is undertaken. In many cases the client is advised to obtain his own documentary evidence. Witnesses are seen and statements taken to present the client’s side of the story.
Solicitors regularly work closely with experts and barristers, including QCs in order to present useful evidence to the Jury and the Judge.
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