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Conspiracy to defraud the government is an offence that can come with a stiff punishment. This article provides detailed guidance on the typical sentencing for this offence.

What is the sentence for Conspiracy to defraud the government in 2024?

Conspiracy to defraud the government is the term used for when two or more people plan to act in such a way that it cheats or cons the government out of money.

Stuart Miller Solicitors - Fraud Lawyers

In law, a conspiracy is when two or more people are planning to commit an act that is a criminal offence. They may just have the plan and may not have committed the crime, but the conspiracy is a crime in itself as the intention is there.

We have put together some questions and answers for you to provide you with a better understanding of what this crime is and what the sentence for it would be if you were to be found guilty and convicted.

More about the conspiracy to defraud the government offence

The conspiracy to defraud the government offence always involves more than one person. Here are some examples of this crime that may have led the situation that you now find yourself in:

Planning a way to gain sickness benefit illegally – for instance, getting people involved to show evidence that you’re qualified to be paid sickness benefit, despite this not being the truth.

Plotting to be paid money from the council for fraudulent bills – for example, making a plan with others to secure payments from the government for maintentance works that have not been completed.

Conspiring to receive housing benefit from the government – an example of this might be when the owner of rental property is not entitled to be paid rent money by the government, as they are in fact, the partner of the person claiming.

There are many other examples of acts that would be classified as a conspiracy to defraud the government, but they are too numerous to list them here. If you would like to know more about any acts in particular, please call us on 0208 888 5225. We also have a solicitor on hand 24 hours a day if you need urgent legal help which you can reach on 07980 000 076.

What is the average sentence for conspiracy to defraud the government offences?

A conspiracy to defraud the government case is usually heard before a judge and jury at a Crown Court. The sentence for being found guilty and convicted would be a maximum of ten years if no other offence took place, beyond the conspiring. You may also be issued a fine.

How does a court decide on the seriousness of the conspiracy to defraud the government offence for sentencing purposes?

The information that judges receive with regards to sentencing are only guidelines, and each case will be looked at individually. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following is an excerpt taken from the website of the Sentencing Council. This information is provided as guidelines to judges on what they should consider when sentencing. However, please note that each case will be looked at individually.

The level of culpability is determined by weighing up all the factors of the case to determine the offender’s role and the extent to which the offending was planned and the sophistication with which it was carried out.

Culpability demonstrated by one or more of the following

A – High culpability

  • A leading role where offending is part of a group activity
  • Involvement of others through pressure, influence
  • Abuse of position of power or trust or responsibility
  • Sophisticated nature of offence/significant planning
  • Fraudulent activity conducted over sustained period of time
  • Large number of victims
  • Deliberately targeting victim on basis of vulnerability

B – Medium culpability

  • A significant role where offending is part of a group activity
  • Other cases that fall between categories A or C because:
    • Factors are present in A and C which balance each other out and/or
    • The offender’s culpability falls between the factors as described in A and C

C – Lesser culpability

  • Involved through coercion, intimidation or exploitation
  • Not motivated by personal gain
  • Peripheral role in organised fraud
  • Opportunistic ‘one-off’ offence; very little or no planning
  • Limited awareness or understanding of the extent of fraudulent activity

Where there are characteristics present which fall under different levels of culpability, the Court should balance these characteristics to reach a fair assessment of the offender’s culpability.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the conspiracy to defraud the government sentence?

When two or more people are planning or agreeing to defraud somebody, to deceive them or expose them to specific loss or risk, it’s considered to be very serious. In response, the Court often hands out serious prosecution to deter offenders.  The aim of the prosecutors both before and during the trial is to prove that you have acted dishonestly.

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. In conspiracy to defraud the government cases, they may include:

  • Your previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether the activity you took part in was initially legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any severe medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for conspiracy to defraud the government with a guilty plea?

In recent years, several changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one-fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure;. However, the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge, who has the discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times, there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one-tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten per cent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s essential for the solicitor to regularly inform the Court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of conspiracy to defraud the government offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of an offence. These are extra elements that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that affect a dependent’s finances, property or activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of binary option fraud include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Financial reporting order
  • Disqualification from directing a company
  • Confiscation orders

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

Besides, the Court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining sufficient evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to Court and you are convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

At Stuart Miller Solicitors, we often handle conspiracy to defraud the government cases and have in-depth knowledge of this field of law.

With over thirty years of defending all manner of cases, we guide our clients by recommending the best course of action to take to minimise any sentence.

What many of our clients don’t realise is that it’s the role of the prosecution to prove that you’re guilty of conspiracy to defraud the government. They will need to produce evidence and witness statements to back up their argument. Our role here at Stuart Miller Solicitors is to weaken their argument as we defend our client.

Our legal team is made up of some of the brightest legal minds in the industry. In addition to knowing the law inside out, our solicitors are determined to win and very vigorous in their approach. They also have a broad network of legal professionals to call on for advice and guidance such as QCs, Barristers and expert witnesses.

There’s no doubt that Stuart Miller Solicitors can provide you with some of the best legal counsel that you can find either inside or outside London.

What will happen when I instruct a fraud lawyer?

Our fraud lawyers will work with you to understand your unique situation. You will be supported by a dedicated solicitor, a caseworker and a barrister. Throughout the case, you will receive an exceptional level of customer service. You can contact us at any time.

Arrest & Interview

Being arrested and taken to the police station is stressful. They will question you and record everything that you say in the hope of having further evidence to use against you in Court.

You may even have your devices seized so that they can trawl through all your communications, looking for further evidence.

Hiring a fraud lawyer will provide you with guidance, and in some cases, the fraud lawyer will put pressure on the police to bring the case to a conclusion so that you can get your phone, tablet or computer returned.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

You are invited to a free thirty-minute consultation with us to discuss your conspiracy to defraud the government case. It’s a chance to ask questions, express your concerns and get to know more about how we can help you.

If you’d like to arrange for your consultation, complete our contact form, or call us on 0208 888 5225. In a case of emergency, you can reach a solicitor on 07980 000 076.

Get in touch with us now for conspiracy to defraud the government legal help.


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