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FEB
25

‘Missing Trader’ Fraud

missing-trader-fraudOne of the most common types of VAT fraud is ‘missing trader’ fraud, which occurs when an individual sells goods to a third party, charges VAT and then either disappears or deliberately takes their company into administration before paying over their VAT liabilities.

More cases of this type have been brought by HMRC recently, as part of its crackdown on fraudulent activity.

A recent example is the recent conviction of four men who had been involved in a fraud relating to the importation of mobile phone and computer chips from Europe and the United States. According to HMRC, the fraud worked by selling the phones and chips in the UK along a contrived supply chain before the company exported the goods to Switzerland or Dubai. The traders at the start of the chain meanwhile – which were in some cases set up purely to commit the fraud – invariably failed to pay the VAT they had charged on the original supply.

HMRC investigators shut down the multi-million pound fraud, after stopping attempts to claim VAT repayments worth over £18 million.

Two of the company's directors, its company secretary and one of its employees were recently convicted of cheating the public revenue following a trial at Kingston Crown Court. Three of the defendants were also found guilty of one money laundering offence.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you have been charged with fraud and require specialist legal advice, please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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FEB
10

European Cybercrime Centre: One Year On

cybercrimeLast month the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) celebrated its first anniversary and with that its successes in tackling online crime.

The main task of EC3 is to disrupt the operations of organised crime networks that commit serious and organised cybercrime, part of which is the on-going problem of payment fraud.

EC3 is currently providing operational and analytical support to 16 investigations regarding payment fraud, while in 2013 it supported investigations that resulted in the dismantling of three different international networks relating to credit card fraud:

  • One operation led to the arrest of 29 suspects who had made a 9 million Euro profit by compromising the payment credentials of 30,000 credit card holders.
  • The second network that was tackled resulted in a total of 59 arrests across several Member States, the dismantling of two illegal workshops for producing devices and software to manipulate Point-of-Sale terminals, and the seizure of illegal electronic equipment, financial data, cloned cards, and cash. The group had apparently affected around 36.000 bank/credit card holders in 16 European countries.
  • The third operation targeted an Asian network responsible for illegal transactions and the purchasing of airline tickets. Two members of the network, travelling on false documents, were arrested at Helsinki airport and around 15,000 compromised credit card numbers were found on seized computers. The network had apparently been using card details stolen from cardholders worldwide, with the losses to European card holders and banks amounting to over 70,000 euros.

A further operation against a group who used fraudulent credit cards to purchase airline tickets was coordinated by the EC3 in 38 airports from 16 European countries. During the operation, more than 200 suspicious transactions were reported by the industry and 43 individuals were arrested (followed by another 74 arrests after the action day; 117 arrests in total).

These were all found to be linked to other criminal activities, such as the distribution of credit card data via the internet, intrusions into financial institutions’ databases, other suspicious transactions, drug trafficking, human smuggling, counterfeit documents including IDs, and other types of fraud. 

The cases are good examples of the way in which frauds involving the internet are increasing. But the technical nature of online and computer fraud means investigations, and prosecutions, are often lengthy and drawn out. It also means that defending charges of this nature requires expert advice from solicitors at the cutting edge of IT and internet law.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you have been charged in connection with online fraud and require specialist legal advice, please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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NOV
13

Frauds Against Local Government - Report

Interesting figures released by the Audit Commission reveal that £178 million of fraud was detected by local government in the last year, with just over three quarters of that total being detected by one quarter of councils.

A total of 107,000 fraud cases were identified. This actually represents a fall of 14% in the number of frauds detected, while at the same time there was an average increase in value of 15% for each detected fraud.

This is the first year the Commission has required local authorities to separately identify detected frauds against schools in its annual survey. This data only covers maintained schools, as free schools, foundations and academies are outside the Commission’s remit. Councils reported 191 cases of fraud in schools with a total worth of £2.3 million, 86 cases of which (with a value of £1.9 million) involved internal fraud.

The Commission also noted regional variations in fraud detection. In 2012/13, significantly lower levels of fraud detection were witnessed in most regions outside London, compared with the previous year. The falls in detection ranged from 6% to 46%. However, London boroughs saw a 36% increase in both the number and value of frauds detected.

One of the striking findings of the survey of local authorities was that 79 district councils detected no non-benefit fraud at all, causing the Commission to question council priorities and the resources allocated to tackling fraud.

“I would urge all councils to review their local policies to ensure they are doing all they can to detect and record fraud cases," said Jeremy Newham of the Audit Commission. "Our report has many examples of what can be achieved by councils who acknowledge the scale of the problem and apply appropriate and proportionate resources to tackle fraud.”

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you have been, or fear you will be, charged with fraud and require specialist legal advice, please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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OCT
20

New Developments on Pension Liberation Frauds

The NCA (the new National Crime Agency) has ordered ten websites that they suspect of facilitating Pension Liberation Fraud to be taken down immediately.

Baker Tilly have just completed research which concludes that that pension fraud costs tens of millions each year; Local Authority pensions have been defrauded of £20 million last year, alone.

They are also of the view that pension trustees fail to recognise their responsibility to detect and prevent fraud. This despite the fact that 20% of pension schemes have reported fraud against the scheme and it would appear that the larger schemes, i.e. those with 10,000 members and more, are the most vulnerable.

If you require any legal assistance on any of the issues raised here, contact us by telephone on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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SEP
15

Latest Development on Financial Cybercrime

The Metropolitan Police e-Crime Unit arrested twelve individuals last week in connection with allegations surrounding an apparently audacious attempt to infiltrate the security systems at Santander Bank (in particular the Surrey Quays branch of the bank).

It is alleged that one of the arrestees masqueraded as an employee of a telecoms company and attempted to place an electronic device, known as a KVM, an easily available keyboard video mouse, and fit it to a computer within the branch.

These arrests were as a result of a three month operation, and four individuals were eventually charged with fraud offences. This is in accordance with the new CPS prosecution policy which is to charge only the most important four arrestees in any major investigation.

Many industry insiders believe that these allegations represent a new trend, and that finance houses will continue to be the focus of such alleged attacks, featuring particularly tailored strategies homing in on the security weaknesses of the target. Cybercrime has moved away from attempting to crack through firewalls, by all accounts.

It is estimated that the cost of cybercrime to the UK is between £18 billion and £27 billion; UK financial services lost £5.4 billion as a result of fraud.

The government also states that fraud cost the country overall last year in excess of £85 billion; the UK banks lost £47 million and online banking lost £40 million in 2012.

We have specialist lawyers who successfully defend cybercrime allegations and lawyers who advise those who have lost money as a result of cybercrime.

If we can assist with legal issues arising from this article please contact us by completing our online enquiry form or call us on 0207 387 2032.

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