The number of fraud prosecutions in the UK is falling.
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that while the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is increasingly focusing its efforts on large-scale frauds, the total number of fraud prosecutions is dropping.
The figures show that the number of fraud prosecutions fell by 12% last year, even though the number of reported fraud offences rose by 4%. In the same year, the SFO doubled the number of restraint and freezing orders it issues.
Rahman Ravelli founder Aziz Rahman said that while a drop in fraud prosecutions could lead to criticism of the SFO, it did not show the full picture.
He added: “At first glance, the figures show a drop in prosecutions and an increase in reported fraud, which does not look good for the SFO.
“But it would be wrong for anyone to think that this means that fraud can and will go unpunished. White-collar crime is as high up the authorities’ list of priorities as it has ever been. There is more cooperation than ever before between investigating agencies both here and abroad and a greater determination to identify fraud.
“Nobody in business can afford to have a cavalier attitude to fraud. They need to ensure they have proper measures in place to prevent fraud and a whistle blowing procedure for staff or associates to report wrongdoing.
“And if a company finds itself at the centre of fraud allegations, it must seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible.
“These latest figures show a drop in prosecutions. But there is no guarantee that that drop will continue – or that it will mean a fall in the number of fraud convictions.’’
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