Fraud and Regulatory Investigations
A significant amount of our caseload involves offences of fraud and dishonesty. Fraud cases often involve serious financial loss and can be complex both legally and factually. Serious fraud cases almost inevitably create a vast amount of documentation which we are experienced in handling. We will often make papers available to our clients in electronic format.
Our clients in such cases are often professional people who are not familiar with the criminal justice system. We do our best to ensure that our clients are kept fully informed of the progress of their case throughout the often lengthy procedure and that their case receives the level of attention it requires at all times.
We were a member of the Legal Services Commission's now defunct Serious Fraud Panel for a number of years. Only firms on that Panel could deal with cases designated as Serious Fraud Cases. This panel was replaced by the "Very High Cost Cases Panel" in January 2008. Only members of this Panel are able to deal with cases which are deemed to fall within the "VHCC" structure. These cases are administered by the LSC's Complex Cases Unit and extend beyond but also include fraud cases.
Any serious fraud case will be handled by a senior solicitor. Most serious fraud cases require work from other members of staff working as a team under the supervision of the senior solicitor to ensure that the case is fully and thoroughly prepared for trial.
Fraud cases do not always fall within the VHCC framework. However, the issues involved are often no less complicated. The police investigation may still have created huge amounts of paperwork. In all such cases, a senior solicitor will have day to day conduct of the case.
Examples of the types of fraud cases in which we have acted include:-
• VAT "Missing Trader" frauds
• Boiler Room Frauds
• Money Laundering cases
• Frauds by solicitor clients
• Corruption cases
The firm undertakes certain regulatory work involving investigations by regulators such as the Financial Services Authority or investigations and prosecutions by other regulatory bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive or the Trading Standards Authority.
We are currently involved in the FSA-led international investigation into the setting of LIBOR which is an extremely high profile example of our regulatory work. We have also defended clients for breaches of health and safety legislation and offences prosecuted by local authorities and Trading Standards.
Whether the potential offence investigated is complex such as the wholesale selling of second hand cars which are said to have been "clocked" or more straight forward, we have the ability and expertise to help. As an example, we have recently had the summons withdrawn against a company who sold a sofa in a trading standards test purchase which did not meet to the fire safety regulations for soft furnishings.
Legal aid is occasionally available but these cases are much more often funded by the employing company or insurance. All enquiries of this nature should in the first instance be addressed to Steven Bird.