London | Frankfurt | Madrid | Milan | Rome

MODERN LAWYERSFOR CHANGING TIMES 'a City firm in a non-City location' - Legal 500


Another One Bites the Dust: Insurance Broker Found Guilty of Fraud

fraudThe law on fraud is becoming something of a feature in the media. It was recently reported that an Insurance broker, Mr Jay Solder, narrowly avoided a prison sentence after being convicted of committing insurance fraud. This case was interesting to note, given that at Lewis Nedas we regularly advise clients facing allegations of fraud. Here, we give an overview of the case, and the rules that were breached.

What was being investigated?

Mr Solder is reported to have been an insurance broker in the City. He had reported to his insurers that his home had been raidefraud sold by burglars twice in a four month period, making off with a number of Rolex and Omega watches, a MacBook Pro computer and a Mulberry Handbag. He had also reported to his insurers that he had lost his Burberry coat while he had been travelling, within which were a number of highly valuable items, including: a Louis Vuitton wallet, a Sony digital camera and an iPad Mini.

The insurers in question, having been alerted by Mr Solder to what he claimed to be burglaries and instances where he lost his property, did make payment to him under the respective policies. Difficulties arose for Mr Solder when City of London investigators began to question the value of the insurance claims.

What happened following on from the insurance claims?

Investigators decided to conduct an extensive investigation into Mr Solder, including inspecting his home. It was during this investigation that a number of irregularities were discovered:

  • The value of the goods Mr Solder had claimed were stolen had been vastly inflated, following investigators determining that the credit card statements used were in fact fake; and
  • The Rolex watch and camera that Mr Solder had claimed under the Insurance policy were later found in his wardrobe, along with £6,000 in cash.

The total value for which Mr Solder had claimed under insurance is reported to have been £43,000. but the authorities could find no evidence that these claims were in fact genuine. As a result of the findings by investigators, Mr Solder was dismissed from his position as an insurance broker and became the subject of a criminal investigation for fraud.

Having been found guilty for committing fraud, he was sentenced to a 21-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 160 hours of community service. Mr Solder had committed to the court that he would reimburse the money that he had taken from his insurers within two weeks of his being convicted.

Where are the rules governing fraud?

Fraud as an offence can be very difficult to prove. In the case of Mr Solder, in order to find evidence of guilt, investigators had to conduct an extensive investigation of his home and subject credit card statements to detailed investigation.

The offence of Fraud is detailed in the Fraud Act 2006. As a piece of legislation it is quite sophisticated, describing fraud in exacting detail. Fraud is deemed to be:

  1. The making of a false representation;
  2. By failing to disclose information if you are under a duty to do so; or
  3. By abusing the position which you are expected to safeguard.

This definition is purposefully designed to be wide ranging in order to allow authorities to detect, investigate and prosecute fraud. In previous years, when this legislation was not in force, fraud was a particularly difficult crime to prove.

In the case of Mr Solder, the difficulty for him would be that his actions appeared to fall clearly within the definition of fraud, at least in that he claimed insurance for items which had (i) never been lost and (ii) were not as valuable as he had originally claimed.

Who investigates instances of suspected fraud?

Depending on who is suspected of having committed fraud, a number of regulatory bodies can instigate an investigation. However, when dealing specifically with instances of suspected fraud committed by individuals, as was the case with Mr Solder, the police are the most relevant body. It is also possible for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to instigate an investigation if it so chooses.

The power of the police to investigate suspected instances of fraud is heavily regulated by statute under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). The Act does permit police, in attempting to prove the commission of fraud, to pursue a variety of avenues including:

  • The detention and questioning of individuals suspected of having committed fraud;
  • The investigation of an individual’s affairs, including inspection of their home; and
  • In certain instances, the police are also empowered to stop and search an individual for evidence of having committed fraud.

In respects of Mr Solder, the police became suspicious of his activities, and exercised their powers under PACE to investigate his property for evidence of fraud.

What is the penalty for having committed fraud?

In the case of individuals where they become the subject of criminal proceedings under the Theft Act 2006, the penalty for commission of the fraud is quite severe. The court may decide either to issue a sentence of a period of imprisonment to a maximum of ten years, or issue an unlimited fine.

Mr Solder only narrowly escaped a period of imprisonment, on account of his committing to repay the funds that he owes.

Contact Lewis Nedas Law Expert Solicitors

At Lewis Nedas, we take a particularly distinctive approach to defending clients alleged to have committed fraud. Authorities treat the offence of fraud very seriously, and will use all suitable resources to determine whether or not there is evidence of guilt. Our many years of experience in dealing with regulators and prosecuting authorities afford us a great deal of insight into how prosecutors operate. We will handle all of your dealings with investigators: accompany you to any interviews with regulators, and handle any and all correspondence that is required. We will also represent you in court if the circumstances require it. Rest assured that the team at Lewis Nedas are true experts in defending actions concerning all aspects financial crime, and that we are here to help you. Contact us here.

Continue reading
  1287 Hits
1287 Hits

Persistent Fare Evasion to be Prosecuted as Fraud

fare evasionThe British Transport Police (BTP) and rail companies are to formalise a prosecution protocol that will place more emphasis upon prosecuting fare evasion as fraud, which can lead to immediate terms of imprisonment.

Following a number of high profile fare evasion cases last year, the Chief Constable of the BTP, speaking to the Times (02/05/2015), stated that he wished to see the more serious cases referred to the BTP from the railway companies so that the police can investigate and prosecute for fraud.

He also wants to see the use of the controversial non-prosecution ‘civil settlements’ forbidden. These agreements have allowed wealthier individuals to avoid criminal prosecution by paying the rail company extortionate sums that seldom reflected the sums due to the company and often far exceeded them. Very often the individuals were commuting professionals whose employment (and liberty) would have been at immediate risk had they been prosecuted, and they were happy to pay large amounts to avoid such prosecution.

In 2012/13, the rail companies issued 85,000 fixed penalty notices and in 2013/14 a total of 2,587 individuals were prosecuted for fare evasion by the CPS in the criminal courts, an offence that has a potential of a maximum fine of £1,000 + costs + victim surcharge, and 12 weeks’ imprisonment.

It is evident that since 2014 there has been a change of approach to these types of offences by the authorities.

Anybody facing such an allegation risks losing his or her ‘good character’, their employment, and their liberty. Many will also have to face professional regulatory proceedings; any hint of dishonest behaviour will threaten FCA authorisations, and solicitors’, accountants’, doctors’, and dentists’ Fitness to Practice certificates.

We have been involved in a number of the more high profile of these types of cases and have successfully defended any number of individuals facing these types of proceedings.

Contact Miles Herman or Siobhain Egan on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

Continue reading
  2196 Hits
2196 Hits

Stunning Money Laundering Success

fraudMiles Herman represented an individual charged with receiving monies from a fraud concerning the misappropriation of Wonga Loans.

The total fraud exceeded £1 million with our client receiving tens of thousands of pounds into a personal account.

Faced with considerable evidence, Miles set about obtaining witness material which cast doubt over the client’s knowledge that the monies received represented criminal conduct.

On obtaining this and supportive medical evidence, detailed representations were then made to the Specialist Fraud Division of the CPS.

A decision by the CPS followed in light of the defence submissions to offer no evidence.

A delighted client continues to enjoy her good character.

Contact Lewis Nedas Law Expert Fraud Solicitors

If you have been charged with fraud or money laundering, call Miles or our other fraud specialists at Lewis Nedas Law on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

Continue reading
  1925 Hits
1925 Hits

Numerous New Instructions this Week for LNL Lawyers

lawRhys Mardon, who has recently joined the firm, has taken instructions in the following financial crime matters:
• A multi-jurisdictional, £10million money laundering case at Southwark Crown Court;
• A £1million fraud and conspiracy to defraud NatWest Bank, being heard at the Old Bailey;
• The enforcement of a Confiscation Order, total benefit £1million.

Jeffrey Lewis has been instructed in a £10 million Revenue fraud matter.

Sean Reilly has been instructed in the following:
• A defendant accused of £10 million excise duty fraud;
• A high profile extradition case.

Keith Wood is instructed in the following matters:
• An Extradition involving large scale tax fraud;
• An individual charged with rare earth metals trading fraud;
• An individual accused for fraud of nearly £1 million while acting under a power of attorney;
• Advising a company who are a third party affected by multi-million confiscation proceedings.

Miles Herman is dealing with the following cases:
• A professional charged with serious sexual assault;
• An extradition appeal to heard by the Administrative Court in October concerning the validity of a warrant;
• A confiscation instruction in a boiler room fraud case;
• A multi-handed excise duty prosecution by HMRC of an alleged loss in excess of six figures.

Continue reading
  2056 Hits
2056 Hits

Lewis Nedas Wins Finance Monthly Award 2nd Year Running

super-lawyerLewis Nedas has been named Finance Monthly’s Fraud Firm of the year 2014.

Continue reading
  1426 Hits
1426 Hits

and Awards

legal 500 uk leading firm 2017 chambers leading firm 2017