At Stuart Miller Solicitors, the Fraud Solicitors appreciate that being investigated for Fraud, whether it is Benefit Fraud, False Representations Fraud or VAT / Tax Fraud; the implications are extremely serious and far reaching.
If you are running a business, have assets in your name or those dear to you, an allegation of Fraud will rupture any emotion, integrity or respect to cause irreparable damage.
Our Fraud Lawyers will take the view that in any circumstance, the worst-case scenario should be the starting point and every effort will be made to risk-analyse and limit potential damage that can be caused by over-zealous investigators and prosecutors.
There are a few vital issues that must be considered if anyone anticipates a potential investigation in the future. The first is that legal advice must be obtained before an arrest is made (if possible). This allows the Fraud Solicitor to understand your situation and collect whatever evidence you may require to support a potential defence. If the investigation leads to an arrest, it is inevitable that the police will conduct searches and seize all material evidence. They will also speak to witnesses and draft statements favourable to their case.
The second key issue is to instruct a specialist Fraud Solicitor. Do some research! Speak to others who experienced a similar situation. Look for previous cases and examples of success demonstrating a firm’s expertise and quality of work. The importance of this issue cannot be over-stated. Our Solicitors are regularly instructed by clients using a non-Fraud expert Duty Solicitor or local Solicitor and it is our experience that the advice given at the police station often doesn't demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of Fraud cases.
Consideration must be given to the nature of the investigation, the potential volume of the evidence, the impact on assets, the special training given to police officers, the effect on family members or friends, the likelihood of important witnesses disappearing owing to scare-mongering tactics regularly employed by the police.
Treating a Fraud case like any other criminal case leads to complications in the future. Difficulties with bail conditions, with restraint orders, with confiscation orders and post-conviction orders such as the Serious Crime Prevention Order.
Once you have instructed the right Solicitor for the job, you will develop a clear idea of what areas the investigators are looking into, what the possible charges are and how this will affect you and your business in the long run.
As there are a number of agencies which have the power to investigate allegations of Fraud, you need to understand who is investigating you. It may be any of the following:
- Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
- Economic Crime Unit (ECU)
- National Terrorist Financial investigation Unit (NTFIU)
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
- Professional Regulatory Bodies
Each one of these agencies has their own remit within which they work. This means that the higher value the potential Fraud is, the more likely it is that there will be more agencies involved.
If you are being investigated for Fraud, your business is likely to suffer as a result. The various agencies involved may freeze your assets and depending on the outcome of the investigation, seize your assets too. If this happens, you will find it almost impossible to continue operating your business. When your clients and customers discover that you are under investigation for fraud they will probably not want to continue dealing with you and again, this will severely affect your bottom line.
Having a specialist Fraud Solicitor on your side will help you to find the least damaging solution to your problems. You will have further support and advice from an Expert Fraud Barrister who will work together with your Solicitor, taking much of the stress and anxiety of making a decision away from you.
Whilst we appreciate it will never be easy, we seek to lend that hand of support to make the whole ordeal manageable for you and your family.
Stuart Miller Solicitors regularly challenge the investigator’s decision to impose bail conditions, to restrict your international travel, to prohibit the continuation of your business, to limit your access to your own money and to try and limit your family members’ access to a reasonable amount of money to live on.
Whether you are a large corporation funding your legal costs using an insurance policy or the individual caught up in someone else’s wrong-doing, the Fraud Solicitors and Barristers working with this firm will provide you with the best possible chances of success.
Please remember that early action in any case is pivotal to increasing the chances of success. In such complex and intimidating investigations or prosecutions, you will require skilful advice at every juncture. We will offer you a free consultation for you to discuss your case with us. We can act for you at the police station for free and thereafter, we can help assess your financial eligibility for legal aid. We believe, no matter what your financial position, if you are prosecuted by the State, you must also be defended with funds by the State. Please contact the Serious Fraud team to arrange your meeting, whether face to face, online or by telephone.