Common Types Of Fraud Investigation

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By Isaac Mirza - 2nd August 2021

Fraud can take many forms, and fraud investigations can arise for any number of reasons – even where no wrong-doing has actually taken place.

We assist clients with all types of fraud investigation. Recently, we have seen a rise in the number of trading standards investigations, and banking and mortgage fraud investigations.

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Trading standards investigations

It is common for trading standards offices to investigate fraud. However, in this context, the "fraud" can involve the supply of false goods and certificates. Examples of this include trading in counterfeit goods or overcoming health and safety certification. Quite often, where counterfeit goods are involved, local authorities trading standards departments will also investigate money laundering and proceeds of crime offences. They can choose from a range of offences outlined under the Fraud Act 2006, Trade Mark Act 1994 or Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Investigations at this level can be initiated by request for an interview or an arrest by the police following a warrant for entry to inspect premises or search/seize evidence. Such an enquiry can severely damage business reputations. Sometimes it isn't easy to ascertain how and why trading standards have opened an investigation, or why a particular business or individual has been targeted.

We have recently received instructions from a limited company of 35 years standing with a fantastic trading reputation where the warrants for entry are subject to challenge before the High Court. In those proceedings, the trading standards state that a substantial amount of counterfeit goods has been traded. We will attempt to show the goods are non-infringing items.

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Banking and mortgage fraud

Over the last 12 months, there has been a substantial increase in bank-related fraud. This has been caused by sophisticated criminal organisations, and also by individuals who have been unwittingly caught in the fraudulent mortgage application process. This in part has been fuelled by the huge demand in property during the pandemic and the change in home working. In addition, the stamp duty holiday has increased this pressure which has resulted in optimistic declarations being made by mortgage brokers to secure mortgages for their clients. Unfortunately, it is the client who ends up bearing the brunt of any investigation or prosecution.

In one example, we represented a husband and wife who applied for a mortgage so that they could be closer to the wife's parents and grandparents. The parents and grandparents of the wife had provided the deposit, but unfortunately, the mortgage application could not be processed because the wife had a rental property. The mortgage broker suggested that the property ought to be placed in the husband's name; this made sense, and the application proceeded and was granted on that basis. However, an issue has now come to light that has resulted in the husband's assets being litigated in court. The other side is now alleging mortgage fraud, even though the broker was utterly aware of the circumstances.

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If any of the above issues concern you, then please contact us to receive advice at the earliest opportunity from one of our lawyers. We can guide you through a fraud investigation, acting as your trusted legal representatives throughout.

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