Fraud is the term used for offences that are committed against the state or against individuals with the intention of purposely deceiving them. A fraud solicitor will be able to advise individuals that fraud can be committed in a number of ways. Fraud is a serious crime and should not be taken lightly. Some fraud related crimes carry sentences of imprisonment should the criminal be found guilty.
What types of fraud are a main concern?
The areas of fraud that are of key concern in the UK are tax fraud and money laundering. Tax fraud refers to the dishonest actions of individuals and companies with the aim and purpose of deceiving the government and paying less tax than they are obligated to pay. Tax fraud also covers social security benefit fraud, where people wrongfully claim benefits when they are not entitled to them, thus deceiving the system.
Money laundering is another type of fraud which causes great concern to the UK government. This is a crime that is increasingly on the rise. The UK is one of the most targeted countries by criminals that launder money. So what is money laundering? It is where the money from proceeds of crime is invested into the financial system of a country with the intention of cleaning it and legitimising its source.
What are the impacts of these types of fraud on the UK?
Money laundering and tax fraud both have significant impacts on the UK and act as a strain on the government. Tax fraud and money laundering combined costs the UK government billions of pounds on a yearly basis. It is for this reason that the UK government is passing stricter laws and regulations to try and stop these crimes from occurring. There are new organisations that have been created by government legislation with the aim of catching these criminals and being as stringent and ruthless as possible. While it cannot be said that the results can yet be seen, in the coming years this will start to significantly improve as it becomes a national effort to stop these crimes.
In order to be found guilty of fraud the prosecution will need to prove that the defendant had the intention to deceive another individual or company and to cause them to suffer a loss, irrespective of whether loss was actually suffered or not. It will be for the prosecution to prove this, as they are bringing the case against the defendant and they will need to be able to convince a jury to the point that they are sure that the defendant committed the crime and is guilty.
Where an individual is found guilty of committing fraud, he or she may be fined and/or given a term of imprisonment. The extent of the term will depend on the severity of the crime and also other extenuating factors such as previous criminal convictions and behaviour. Money laundering and tax fraud both carry prison terms and therefore it is essential that people are clear on the laws relating to these types of fraud to ensure that they do not fall foul of them.