Fraud

Fraud, Confidence Fraud, Obtaining Property by Deception, Fraud by False Representation, Obtaining Credit by Deception

The offence of fraud now covers a number of scenarios that were previously distinct criminal offences. The offence of fraud is now defined by the Fraud Act 2006.

If you are accused of fraud, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You have given false information or misled another person, and either
    • intended that you or third person would gain or profit from the deception, or
    • intended that someone else would lose or be at risk of losing property as a result of the deception

This can cover a vast range of situations, from complex VAT frauds to making false claims in a job application or switching price tags on goods to pay a reduced price. Due to the number of possible fraudulent examples, this is simply a summary of the issues relating to the general offence.

Allegations of fraud are either way offences, meaning that they can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. The maximum sentence in the Magistrates Court is 6 months imprisonment, while the Crown Court can impose up to 10 years imprisonment.

However, unless the alleged misrepresentation was fraudulent from the outset, or there are substantial sums of financial loss suffered by the alleged victim, it is still possible to secure a Community sentence or Suspended Sentence following a fraud conviction. Further to the  sentence though are the Court’s powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which can allow the forfeiture and confiscation of criminal property gained through fraud.

If you have been accused of fraud, it is important that you have expert advice from a specialist criminal defence lawyer. Contact us to see if we can help you find the best criminal solicitor or barrister for your case.