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Fraud Solicitors LondonLewis Nedas Law have over 30 years experience of successfully defending clients against fraud prosecutions. We are ranked in Chambers and the Legal 500 for the high quality of our fraud work. Our fraud solicitors are described as 'precise', 'steely determined' and 'always mindful of securing the best outcome for our clients'. in 2013, Lewis Nedas won Lawyer Monthly's 'Corporate Fraud Law Firm of the Year'. Call us on 02073872032

London based Lawyers -  Defence Against Fraud Prosecution

Our specialist financial crime & fraud solicitors in the heart of London have extensive experience of preparing successful defences to fraud prosecutions including corporate fraud, whether these are brought by the Crown or a statutory body such as the FCA or the Department of Business innovation and Skills (formerly The Department for Business and Regulatory Reform which was formerly the Department for Trade and Industry).

We are members of the Specialist Fraud Panel; two of our partners are qualified Serious Fraud Panel and we have four others with applications pending. This is a buoyant, energetic department with expertise in the following areas: 

  • Serious Fraud Office Prosecutions

    If you have been notified that your case has been passed to the SFO, it's imperative to act now. See our dedicated advice on defending SFO prosecutions.

  • Tax & Vat Fraud

    The authorities are increasingly clamping down on Tax & VAT fraud. If your business has come under scrutiny in this regard, take advice on defending HMRC prosecutions now.
  • BIS (Department of Business innovation and Skills), Investigations & prosecutions

    The Department of Business innovation and Skills (BIS) has the power to investigate and prosecute a range of offences. The BIS has two separate powers of investigation – regulatory investigation and criminal investigation if there is evidence a criminal offence (often a fraud) has been committed. The BIS prosecute a range of offences including:

    • Phoenix company fraud.
    • Fraudulent trading
    • Malpractice by company directors by failing to keep accurate accounting records or malpractice during the liquidation and winding up of a limited company.
    • Wrongdoing by a bankrupt including breach of bankruptcy orders and bankruptcy restriction orders.
    • Breach of Directors disqualification orders.

    If you, or your company come under investigation by the BIS, it’s vitally important that you seek the advice of an expert fraud lawyers at the first possible opportunity. If the BIS begin criminal proceedings, then it is standard practice to invite the person suspected of criminal activity to attend what is known as an ‘interview under caution’. While the BIS cannot compel you to attend, if you do attend then anything you say may be taken into account at a later stage. As such, it’s important to take expert advice from a specialist fraud lawyer.

    If you are the subject of a BIS investigation, call us on 020 3773 8287

  • Cartel/Price Fixing/Competition Investigations

    A ‘cartel’ is formed when a number of companies collude to reduce the impact of competition in a particular marketplace. This, of course, raises the price of the goods or services for the end consumer. The recent LIBOR scandal is an example of an organised carte fraud. The Enterprise Act 2002 introduced a new type of fraud into English law, the “Cartel Offence”. This offence is investigated by the Office of Fair Trading or the Serious Fraud Office, depending on the type of offence in question. The overarching policy is only to prosecute where the cartel has acted dishonestly and the conduct is ‘clearly criminal’.

    The penalties for cartel fraud are severe. An individual may face up to five years’ in prison or an unlimited fine. The criminal penalties operate in tandem with the civil enforcement of competition law. There may also be civil penalties relating to breaches of competition law. It’s also possible for victims of the actions of cartels to raise civil actions for recovery of their losses.

    Cartel activity can take many forms, but the most common usually involve:

    • Fixing prices
    • Sharing markets
    • Restricting output of supply or production, or
    • Collusive tendering/bid rigging (who should win a contract)
    • These offences can only be committed ‘horizontally’, that is to say between companies operating at the same level. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has a range of civil powers which run in parallel to criminal sanctions.

    If you are the subject of an investigation in price fixing or cartel fraud, call us now on 020 3773 8287

  • Cross Border Fraud

    Cross border fraud is increasingly common in the modern age, and often involves a wide range of legal issues across a number of jurisdictions. As such, investigations into cross-border fraud can be lengthy and complex. If you are in any way implicated in cross-border fraud, get in touch with us immediately.

    Our fraud solicitors in London will advise on the particular legal aspects relating to jurisdiction and advise on how best to deal with your particular cross-border fraud issue.

  • Fraudulent Trading

    Fraudulent trading is the carrying on of trading during insolvency with the intent of defrauding creditors. This is an offence under the Companies Act 2006. The penalties are severe, with up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or a fine. This is a spectrum offence, with situations involving companies set up with the explicit purpose of defrauding creditors at the higher end of the scale. Carrying on trading while insolvent is likely to attract a sentence toward the lower end of the scale.

    Fraudulent trading can only be committed by persons who execute some kind of controlling function over the company. However, senior employees or management staff may also be criminally liable as secondary parties to any offences committed by their superiors.

    If you have been accused of fraudulent trading, or fear being implicated as a secondary party, call us on 020 3773 8287

  • Internet/Computer Fraud

    Fraudulent trading is the carrying on of trading during insolvency with the intent of defrauding creditors. This is an offence under the Companies Act 2006. The penalties are severe, with up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or a fine. This is a spectrum offence, with situations involving companies set up with the explicit purpose of defrauding creditors at the higher end of the scale. Carrying on trading while insolvent is likely to attract a sentence toward the lower end of the scale.

    Fraudulent trading can only be committed by persons who execute some kind of controlling function over the company. However, senior employees or management staff may also be criminally liable as secondary parties to any offences committed by their superiors.

    If you have been accused of fraudulent trading, or fear being implicated as a secondary party, call us on 020 3773 8287

    The internet is a wonderful tool, however the combination of anonymity, speed and the relative naivety of many people where computers are concerned makes the internet a conduit for frauds of all types. It’s vital, if charged with fraud of an online (or indeed offline) variety that you seek expert advice from solicitors at the cutting edge of IT and internet law. At Lewis Nedas we have experts in the field and use cutting edge technology to stay ahead of the competition. Contact us for legal advice relating to computer fraud today.

    It’s also possible to commit fraud using a computer by altering, deleting, copying or otherwise amending data with the intent of deriving some personal benefit. This type of fraud requires little or no actual technical expertise and is one of the more common types of fraud committed by employees against employers.

    The technical nature of online & computer fraud means investigations, and prosecutions, are often lengthy and drawn out. As such, it’s vital to take legal advice from the outset to ensure the best possible chance of a successful defence. See our internet/computer fraud defences page for more information.

    We are based in the heart of London, near the City and near the courts. If you require expert fraud representation from lawyers in the heart of London, contact Lewis Nedas Law today.

  • Dawn Raids, Search and Seizure Legal Advice

    Another particularly distressing aspect of fraud investigations is the use of dawn raids and  search & seizure by the authorities– suddenly you have police and or representatives of other investigative bodies demanding access to your home or office, and your computers, records or documents. You are not sure exactly how far their powers entitle them to go. You are concerned about confidentiality, legal professional privilege. How are you going to continue to run a business without this information? What about the collateral effects on your business commitments, your professional status and your staff? We can help. Call us and we can attend upon you at your home/office or in the police station. We can negotiate “on the spot” with the relevant authorities so that we can secure early return of your property in order that you can resume your business where possible. CONTACT OUR EMERGENCY NUMBER 0207 387 2032 and ask to speak to Jeffrey Lewis or any of our fraud team.

  • MTIC/VAT Fraud: The Essentials

    MTIC/VAT Fraud: The Essentials

    In summary, the whole basis of a missing trader VAT fraud (MTIC) is focused on EU cross border fraud, so, for example, a VAT registered business charges VAT to a customer known as ‘output’ tax, and in turn is charged VAT by suppliers (‘input’ tax). The business reclaims VAT it has paid and passes to HMRC the net VAT it has collected, which is output tax less input tax, or it reclaims excess input tax.

    The Different Types of MTIC/VAT Fraud

    Acquisition Fraud

    The ‘missing trader’ buys goods from a European company (intra-EU) B2B; the supplying company does not have to charge VAT. The ‘missing trader’ charges VAT to its customers but pockets the VAT instead of paying it to HMRC.

    Carousel Fraud

    These involve a more complex process: items are bought from a European supplier, the items are sold on and VAT is charged. The ‘missing trader’ sells the goods on, charges and pays VAT along the chain until we come to the last business in the chain. That business sells the goods to a broker, who in turn exports it to an EU customer and doesn't charge VAT (this is another EU cross border transaction) and the broker reclaims VAT paid when acquiring the goods i.e. he reclaims the VAT unpaid by the first ‘missing trader’.

    Contra Trading

    Here, the ‘missing trader’ does not reclaim the VAT; instead s/he uses another business chain to offset the VAT. S/he imports goods from another EU state on which VAT is not chargeable. He can then offset the VAT amount due, by purchasing goods of an equal amount from the EU. It is virtually impossible for the authorities to detect this type of fraud, unless an innocent party reclaims the VAT.

    How Have The Authorities Dealt With These Problems? 

    They did prosecute these offences in the criminal jurisdiction but, frankly, with little effect. They didn't prosecute these cases effectively and juries were either acquitting or the case collapsed for one reason or another. HMRC then decided to pursue the VAT tribunal route which, for them, was cheaper, quicker and, because of the civil standard of proof (lower standard than that required for a criminal prosecution), these proceedings were more effective. HMRC will continue to prosecute but not as frequently as they did.
     
    They have the ability to use other remedies to the MTIC/VAT fraud problem, again using civil or fiscal remedies.

    Reverse charge mechanisms

    We have briefly alluded to this in an earlier blog (dated 12/05/2014). In essence, this can be applied to businesses that deal in mobile phones, computer chips, or carbon credits if the value £5,000 or more and the transaction is between VAT registered businesses. The EU also brought in the Quick Reaction Mechanism (QRM) which allows member states to bring in RCM within 28 days.

    Joint and several liability for unpaid VAT

    This is only applicable to transactions dealing with electronic items, telephones and computers. This is a very draconian response, which means that any member of a supply chain in this field that has been the subject of a MTIC fraud can be held liable for the missing VAT (and in many instances this can run into £millions), if the individual knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that VAT on any link of the supply chain has been unpaid. For example, if the goods were priced below market value without any valid reason.

    Loss of right to claim input tax

    This is self explanatory.
     
    HMRC has issued a code of guidance, stressing the need for good compliance and documentary standards. They suggest that businesses should:

    • Look at the trade history of all parties to the chain, where possible (or at least document the efforts made to do so);
    • Analyse the viability of the transaction i.e. is there a genuine market for the goods?
    • Analyse the viability of the goods i.e. check their existence and condition of the goods.

    In order to protect itself from becoming involved in a MTIC fraud, businesses must increase the standards of their compliance systems, otherwise they are highly likely to fall foul of HMRC’s ‘knew or should have known’ test.

    MTIC frauds can be extremely complex, which is one of the reasons that HMRC encountered so many difficulties when prosecuting these cases.

    It costs the EU up to €100 billion per year and there has been a 53% increase in the number of individuals prosecuted between 2012 and 2013. European authorities are convinced that organised criminal gangs have entered the MTIC/VAT fraud arena. They, apparently, have the money, time and resources to invest; they play ‘the long game’ and benefit from high returns, and the chances of being detected and successfully prosecuted are slim.

  • Civil Fraud

    The immediate response when one suspects fraud is to call the Police or other authorities, but increasingly individuals and companies are met with a disinterested response or are told that it is really a civil matter and not one for the authorities, who are now working on very restricted budgets as a result of government cutbacks. Sadly when an economy ‘hits the buffers’, the full extent of fraudulent behaviour becomes apparent, and modern fraudulent activity is global and increasingly sophisticated.

    If you suspect fraud then you will need to act quickly in order to protect yourself, your assets and your business.

    Perhaps you are concerned that there has been a breach of fiduciary duty, or confidential information has been stolen, or you want to trace stolen assets?

    The victim, these days, has a wide range of remedies to draw upon. Civil disclosure (thanks to the Fraud Act 2006) has given claimants access to wide-ranging disclosure of information.

    We can help you and we pride ourselves upon our ability to act quickly and respond appropriately to these situations. We know the tools to use to recover stolen monies / assets i.e. injunctions, Mareva orders, worldwide search, disclosure and freezing orders.

    We work with leading specialist barristers, forensic experts and computer experts at reasonable costs.

    We also advise on:

  • New Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud in the UK

    The Sentencing Council has published their definitive Sentencing Guideline on fraud, bribery and for the first time a money laundering guideline acknowledging the importance of money laundering in criminal law and policy. Click here to view the full guidelines.

    In short, the guideline which comes into effect on 1 October 2014, increases sentences dramatically and puts the victim (and impact upon the victim) at the centre of the sentencing process. The Guideline is yet another piece of excellent work from the Council and has taken several years to research and perfect. It broadens the definition of victim impact, to include, for example, if the type of fraud increases insurance premiums.

    Additionally, it increases fines for criminally offending corporates, e.g. those companies that bribe foreign officials will, from October, face fines up to 400% of the profits that they have made from criminal activity.

    This puts the fine levels closer to some of the US fines which the authorities there have been handing down. This is important because of the number of multi -jurisdictional corporate criminal investigations on going at the moment, there has to be some consensus re punishment and fine levels for it to work effectively. It will also prevent jurisdiction shopping amongst the larger companies with a broader international reach.

    The fine will increase if the Court finds that there are aggravating features to the case, e.g. withholding information from the investigating authority/misleading investigations/destroying documentation... then the fine will undoubtedly be at the time of the scale.

    The Financial Times (22/05/2014) continues by highlighting the request by the Director of The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to extend s7 Bribery Act 2010 to make a company liable for a broad range of white collar crime e.g. money laundering, a request which appears to have found sympathy with the Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

    Certainly, now the authorities have all the necessary tools and apparatus to effectively deal with corporate crime including Deferred Prosecutions agreements as of February 2014. All they need now is a proper budget from Government.

    The author was a member of The Sentencing Council until March 2013 and advised upon the consultation prior to the definitive guideline on this subject.

    If you or your company are facing any related investigation please contact our specialist lawyers on 0207 387 2032 or by completing our online enquiry form here.

  • Our Cases & Successes

    •  R v C & others – Huge £50million MTIC prosecution at Southwark Crown Court (fraud – was a mobile phone missing trader case, multi-handed, lasted 9 weeks).
    • R v V – Employee of Santander Bank who was involved in a £20million mortgage fraud concerning fraudulent applications. This case was investigated by fraud officers from the City of London Police. We were proactive throughout and made representations leading to no criminal charges being brought.
    • Kaupthing Bank HF – Acted for one of the senior bank officials who was arrested as a result what is now the failed and highly embarrassing SFO investigation into the collapse of the Bank. Case against our client discontinued as part of the overall failures in this investigation highlighted in the judicial review of the arrest warrants. We continue to assist to date in this matter including providing advice during the ongoing civil action involving the SFO and for his client in related proceedings in other jurisdictions and satellite litigation.
    • R v P – Acted for the lead defendant in what was one of the largest Ponzi schemes investigated by the City of London Fraud Squad. This case achieved intense media coverage and included as investors a number of well known public figures. We prepared a detailed abuse of process argument criticising the method used by the Police in the early stages of this case. Also advised in the civil proceedings which predicated the Criminal prosecution and which raised a number of legal challenges.
    • R v G – £multi-million internet fraud by the Money Laundering Investigation Team and New Scotland Yard. We were proactive throughout, making representations concerning the investigation and the decision was made not to prosecute with criminal charges.
    • Further representing SERCO executive relating to City of London Fraud Squad investigation into the company's delivery of prisoners from prisons and police stations to courts and representing Mirror journalists in Operation Elveden and Weeting.
    • R v V – Single defendant case involving highly complex theft of £3.5million from a company.
    • R v J – Fraud investigation arising from investigation into client business, supplying legal and financial services. Former director of the company. Losses estimated at approaching £2.5million.
    • R v H – Acted for the accountant of a substantial business prosecuted by BIS for false accounting and assisting a disqualified director. Acquitted after a lengthy and protracted trial, which included one director turning "queen's evidence" and giving evidence for the prosecution against H. The evidence was thoroughly rejected by the Jury.
    • R v L – Boiler room, diamond scam involving targeting of elderly members of the public to purchase diamond through hard sell tactics offence under the Companies Act.
    • R v D – conspiracy to intercept communications involving a co-conspirator's loss in excess of £2million. Received only 15 months for serious internet fraud when guideline sentences are 4 to 5 years.
    • R v C – Ongoing missing trader VAT fraud in which the losses are estimated at over £2million.
    • R v C – Missing trader VAT fraud in which acting for Director of company. VAT losses estimated at £2million.
    • R v E & E – Charged with Money Laundering on behalf of members of a organised crime group responsible for running 2 city based diamond selling "boiler room" unreturned investments over £1.4million.
    • R v E – Instructed in Wonga investigation into the theft of funds over £1million from employees and co-conspirators involving the laundering of funds through various bank accounts. Southwark Crown Court trial scheduled for October 2014.
    • R v H – Acting for H, prosecuted by BIS as acting in breach of director's disqualification and being engaged in fraudulent business.
    • R v R – £1million fraudulent importation of Shisha tobacco. Conspiracy involving seven defendants contested at trial; involved multi-jurisdictional issues. Not guilty verdict.
    • R v H – Advised former director facing investigation regarding Pension Liberation Scheme.
    • R v C – Secured acquittal for C the lead defendant who faced prosecution for fraud and money laundering offences in a multi-handed prosecution after an 8 week trial. The detailed cross examination of the Crown's financial expert was a devastating and meant that much of the crowns assertions as to C's finances were unsustainable and as such all defendants were ultimately acquitted. The Judge dismissed the majority of charges at half time, save for two low level mortgage frauds which were admitted by C.
    • R v A – Complex and substantial mortgage fraud. We acted for A who was described as one of the principles of a buy-to-let mortgage scheme fraud. There was an added complexity to the fraud in that the purchases were off plan with substantial discounts secured by a parent company to the main mortgage brokerage. CPS eventually persuaded to withdraw case against A on day of trial.
    • R v L – Complex fraud involving the obtaining of identities and hacking in to HMRC online Self Assessment returns and altering bank details. A hugely complex case involving evidence of computer footprints.
    • R v U – Substantial tax credit fraud in which U had been suspected of illegally accessing the Employment Agency database and compromising secure data. This enable claims to be altered and amended and diverted into offshore accounts. This was a substantial case involving many thousands of pages and complex evidence.
    • R v S – Acted for bank employee accused of allowing accounts to be compromised and fraudulently drawn down.
    • R v K – Acted and secured pre charge discontinuance in a high value internet based Package Holiday fraud.
    • A highly sensitive fraud corruption and bribery investigation involving an ongoing criminal prosecution.
    • R v D – Acting for a number of individuals in a recently raided suspected boiler room operation and advising pre charge.
    • R v J – Investigation into unregulated Carbon Credit miss-selling.
    • R v B –Investigation concerning land banking fraud.

    Fraud & Financial Crime Lawyers Camden & Fleet Street

    We have been recommended to clients facing fraud investigations/proceedings by other professionals both Legal and financial and are proud to say that we have been involved in many of the leading fraud prosecutions over the years. It is a tribute to our dedicated and tenacious team that we have a strong track record of overall success in this area.

    As a result of this experience we have a wide knowledge of accountancy and banking and international financial practice, and insist upon instructing leading barristers with specialisations in this field, and noted forensic accountants. 

    Our Specialist Fraud Lawyers

    Our team of expert solicitors in this area includes: Jeffrey LewisSiobhain EganMiles Herman, Rhys Mardon, Tony Meisels, James Reilly, Sean ReillyKeith Wood.

Our Specialist Fraud Lawyers

Our team of expert solicitors in this area includes: Jeffrey LewisSiobhain EganMiles Herman, Rhys Mardon, Tony Meisels, James Reilly, Sean ReillyKeith Wood.

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