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Fraud in Scotland - Your questions answered

With an increased reliance on technology coupled with a financially challenging time for many, it’s no surprise the number of fraud cases continues to rise. In fact, the latest Scottish Government’s data revealed a 60% year-on-year increase in fraud cases compared with January 2020.

In essence, fraud is any financial crime that involves an element of deception with the intent of financial or practical gain. As fraud covers a multitude of offences, this article will focus on two frequently asked questions in relation to the crime:

If you are concerned you may be under investigation for fraud, contact us today - there is no time to delay. You can call our criminal defence team on 01383 730 466 (Dunfermline), 01592 640 680 (Kirkcaldy), 01259 725 922 (Alloa) or you can request a callback by completing our online enquiry form.

5 common fraud charges and what they mean

Fraud takes many forms and, as such, we have provided a brief outline of five commonly prosecuted fraud charges in Scotland. If you have been accused of any of the following crimes, speak with our criminal defence team today and we will work tirelessly to protect your livelihood.

  1. Business fraud

Business fraud covers various types of criminal conduct that a company can be investigated and prosecuted for in Scotland. Typical examples include fraudulent trading, misleading financial statements, and money laundering. If you have been accused of committing business fraud, you can face an unlimited fine or imprisonment if found guilty. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, civil action can be taken to confiscate any funds that are thought to have aided, or come from, the criminal act.

  1. Mortgage fraud

Mortgage fraud is when a person fails to disclose all relevant information to the lender when making a mortgage loan application. Omitting vital details could impact the decision to lend. This could include overstating a salary on a mortgage application or changing title deeds without the owner’s knowledge. For more details on mortgage fraud, click here.

  1. Copyright fraud

Where copyright is deliberately infringed, this may amount to fraud. For example, if counterfeit or pirate copies of CDs, DVDs or software are made, this can lead to an investigation from police or trading standards. There are also several organisations involved in copyright enforcement that can undertake criminal prosecutions of their own accord.

  1. Insurance & pension fraud

Insurance fraud has occurred when information relating to an insurance claim is withheld or misrepresented. Crimes of insurance fraud include providing false information such as a fictitious incident, exaggerating a personal injury or loss suffered, omission or failure to provide relevant facts, or motor fraud where a car accident is staged.

  1. FCA investigations

Fraud falls within the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA's) remit to reduce the risk of financial crime. The FCA can investigate various types of fraud, including phishing, insurance fraud, carousel fraud, identity theft, boiler room fraud, and advance fee fraud.

At Martin, Johnston & Socha, our established firm offers a comprehensive legal service and can provide advice and representation for numerous other fraud charges, which you can view here.

How is fraud different from embezzlement and theft?

Embezzlement, fraud and theft all fall under the category of ‘crimes of dishonesty', and therefore it can be difficult to recognise what actions make them distinctive from one another. Being charged with a crime of dishonesty could impact your ability to take on certain job roles or positions of trust, so it is essential to seek legal advice at an early stage.

What is embezzlement?

Embezzlement is where funds that are placed in a person's trust are misappropriated. One of the key differences between theft and embezzlement is that there must be a relationship between the accused and the person who owns the property for embezzlement to take place.

Theft charges

Theft is the taking or appropriation of property without the consent of its owner. This is a straightforward definition, but theft tends to be less complex than other crimes of dishonesty. For example, fraud can be considered more complicated as the person carrying out the crime is inducing another party to act in a way that results in their financial gain.

If you have been charged with shoplifting or theft of high-value items, our theft solicitors are here to defend you.

Leading criminal defence team – expert legal advice for crimes of dishonesty in Scotland

Fraud investigations can be an extremely stressful experience for those involved. When you instruct us, our criminal solicitors will do everything in our power to ensure you get the best possible outcome. We can help those accused of fraud throughout the entirety of their case, from liaising with the police to putting a robust defence in place and representing you in court. Our team appreciate what a fraud accusation or charge can do to your reputation and livelihood, which is why we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are ready to fight your corner.

Contact our Specialist Fraud Defence Lawyers Alloa, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline

Our criminal lawyers can help you navigate difficult fraud matters by discussing your options with you in a confidential setting. We routinely defend clients in Alloa, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, Methil, Perth, Stirling, Dundee and throughout Scotland. Call our criminal defence solicitors for a free, initial consultation in Dunfermline on 01383 730 466, in Kirkcaldy on 01592 640 680, in Alloa on 01259 725 922 or make an online enquiry and we will get back to you without delay.

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