Encompassing a vast array of modern day frauds, the advance fee fraud requires skilful persuasion and effort in convincing investors to part with money, with the hope of securing future loans, contracts, deals or financial returns.
It’s a fact that investors can often have unreasonable expectations. At the outset of an exciting project, they accept the risk of loss but often, when there is a loss, investors will always seek to blame the company or individuals undertaking the work.
If you’re part of an advance fee fraud investigation, there’s no doubt that you will find it to be upsetting and stressful. You’ll feel frightened about what might happen to you. Will you be given a large fine and a hefty prison sentence? How will you financially support your dependents without an income?
As soon as you find out that you’re being investigated or are being charged with this offence, it’s essential that you seek competent legal advice immediately. By working with skilled fraud solicitors, you may even be able to have your case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.
We’ve put the most commonly asked questions together with answers for you. We aim to provide you with support and guidance as you go through this difficult time. If you have a question that you cannot find the answer to here, don’t hesitate to contact us to ask. Alternatively, you can call us on 0208 888 5225 or 07980 000 076, the latter being a 24-hour emergency lawyer service.
What type of actions are considered an Advance fee fraud?
In advance fee fraud cases, a reward is offered in exchange for an investment, but then it is not delivered and the money paid by the investor is lost. An example of this is the ‘solar panel installation scam’. A promise is made to install solar panels for free, with a grant or award from the state. All the investor needs to do is pay a deposit in advance, which will then be returned when the state reimburses the contractor. The contractor simply takes the money and disappears with it, closes the company or transfers the money to a foreign account.
Here are some other examples of advance fee frauds:
Inheritance fraud – when a person is informed that a wealthy relative has added them to the will, or that they are the only surviving relative and due to receive a large sum of money. The person is required to send an advance payment to cover legal and administrative charges for the process to be completed
Sports tipster scams – when so-called experts or tipsters share their ‘knowledge’ to help a person to win horse racing or other sports bets.
Online dating scams – this can happen when a person meets somebody they like on an online dating app or website. The person will work hard to gain trust and then ask the person to send them money for reasons that are full of emotion, promising to return a higher sum in the future
Lottery prize scams – when someone is informed that they’ve won a prize draw, or won a sweepstake / lottery and to secure the funds, and advance fee is required
Career opportunity scams – fake job opportunities are posted by false companies and a payment is required to access further information that does then not materialise.
There are many other examples. If you would like to know more about whether a crime that you’ve been linked to is classified as an advance fee fraud crime, you can always contact us for further information.
What happens in an Advance fee fraud investigation?
When an advance fee fraud investigation takes place and you are the person accused of being the scammer, you are likely to find it very stressful. You’re likely to be feeling anxious about the future well-being of your family. You will fear whether you will be released on bail or remanded into custody and whether you will have control over you own bank accounts or not.
Each case is different, but whatever your circumstances it’s crucial that you speak with a skilled fraud solicitor. Gaining access to somebody who can give you some legal advice, emotional support and guidance to help you to handle the investigation process will make all the difference.
You may have been falsely accused of advance fee fraud
There are many cases where people have been wrongly accused of being involved in an advance fee fraud case. In some cases, a person’s identification may have been used, but they won’t have known anything about it. Otherwise, their bank account may have been hacked or used to secure unlawful funds. If this is your situation, then a competent solicitor should be able to get your case dismissed.
There have been occasions where the prosecution has attempted to charge a person with advance fee fraud to find out the details of other people who may have been involved. A strong and experienced legal team would be able to recognise whether this is a case of the prosecution throwing mud to see what sticks.
Without a lawyer, you cannot find out more until the interview
Even if you are arrested, you’re quite unlikely to find out much about why you’re being accused or investigated until you attend your first police interview.
In a case such as this, it’s crucial to engage with a solicitor before you attend a police interview. The solicitor will be able to gain access to further information about the advance fee fraud investigation. In combination with information provided by yourself, the fraud solicitor can use this information to construct a defence for you.
Many people find it frustrating that the police gain permission to investigate all areas of your life to obtain evidence. This investigation may include your social media accounts to your bank account to your NHS records in addition to all your contacts and relationships.
Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible
We recommend that you do not attend any police interview without being supported by a proficient fraud solicitor.
The questions that are asked at the interview are typically very probing. You may be shown some of the evidence that the police have obtained to prove their case against you. However, you’re unlikely to see it all as they typically will be trying to trick you into incriminating yourself. The interview will be high pressure, and you may find it very upsetting.
At the end of the interview, you may be charged with the offence of advance fee fraud.
What should you do if you get arrested or charged with advance fee fraud?
Advance fee fraud is an area of the law that can be very complicated. Although you aren’t obliged to take legal representation, we recommend that you do so. English laws are always changing, and without being constantly on top of them, they are hard to keep up with and understand how they apply to your case.
What makes the difference in engaging a fraud solicitor is that they have in-depth knowledge of the law, and they have acquired relevant and valuable experience in similar cases. They will know how they may be able to get you off a charge of this nature. You are supported throughout the entire process so that you get the best possible outcome.
Hiring specialist knowledge will give you peace of mind. We advise that you get in touch with us as soon as you can so that we can assess your case before it develops further.
Can the police search my home?
The police will request the courts for a search warrant so that they can legally search your home and possibly your workplace for evidence. They will search for evidence on phone bill statements, money transfers and vakuable assets. They may put you and your family and your connections under police surveillance.
Could you go to prison for Advance fee fraud?
Advance fee fraud is considered a serious offence that comes with a hefty punishment if you are convicted. You may receive a term of imprisonment and a fine to pay. The police may try to recover any money that you gained access to by confiscating it or putting a freeze on your assets.
Of course, this is a very worrying time for both you and your family. It’s vitally important that you take the right steps to protect the well-being of all of you.
It’s imperative that you engage a fraud solicitor who handles advance fee fraud cases regularly.
What type of sentence could you get for Advance fee fraud?
An advance fee fraud case is usually heard at a crown court. If you are found guilty and convicted, you may be given up to ten years’ imprisonment, given a fine or even receive both. The maximum sentence of ten years is usually given to the most serious of cases.
What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?
The judge will examine the case to understand how dishonest you’ve been and what damage this has caused. He or she will make their judgement on sentencing based on that and whether you’ve been convicted for any crimes previously.
Your personal circumstances and historical credits and achievements will also be considered in addition to an array of issues your fraud lawyer will explore to bring before the court, in demand of a lenient sentence.
Does a conviction for Advance fee fraud go on your criminal record?
If your advance fee fraud case progresses to court and you are found guilty and convicted, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the type and length of your sentence. Your fraud solicitor will give you the exact details.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
We handle advance fee fraud cases regularly and have deep expertise in this field. We can help you by recommending the best course of action to take to mitigate the outcome. No matter what size your case is, get in touch.
Our specialist advance fee fraud solicitors have expertise and skill defending allegations of advance fee fraud. We have acted for clients suggested to have received millions of pounds advance payments in return for promises of securing goods and services. We understand the likelihood of police intervention destroying the business-plan and restricting the continuance of the proposed project.
One such case in which early intervention and effective advice led to a successful result is described in our notable case section and titled ‘advance fee fraud – RvK £126 million fraud case dropped’.
How can our Advance Fee Fraud Solicitors help?
Regardless of the allegation or the extent of the alleged fraud, you will find our fraud solicitors dedicated to achieving the best possible result in your case. We seek to engage very early and take any steps possible to prevent the investigation from reaching the court. If matters are prosecuted, we have the commercial awareness to understand the business concepts and proposals in the case. The key issue in an advance fee fraud case is often the intention and expectation of the parties. Whether the monies paid were spent on furthering the agreed objective or for some other purpose and whether in fact, there was a genuine intention to further the business proposal or investment scheme pitched.
What will our Advance Fee Fraud Solicitors do?
If promises are made, it is for the prosecution to prove by producing evidence of the promise. It is not for the defence to prove that the promise or unrealistic expectation wasn’t made! In doing so, the prosecution will inevitably rely on evidence extracted from mobile phones and computers. Our fraud solicitors have access to some of the best forensic experts, computer analysts and financial examiners in the UK who can be called in to provide supporting evidence.
A fundamental part of the case will be revealed from the records kept by you. We will not only analyse these records meticulously, but we will also continue to explore the evidence to collect, retain and present any materials which will support your defence case; including obtaining witness statements from witnesses in the UK or abroad.
We will instruct barristers and QCs whom we know have first-class experience and knowledge in defending fraud cases and those barristers who will deliver their best performance in and out of the court.
Our fraud solicitors have immense experience defending advance fee fraud cases. We are not only knowledgeable and experienced with the Fraud Act 2006 but also with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 which will present money laundering, restraint order and then confiscation issues.
Want to discuss your case with an expert Advance Fee Fraud Solicitor?
Most clients who seek the advice of our expert fraud solicitors fail to understand that it is the prosecution who ‘must prove the case’ to convict you. It is for the prosecution to prove, so that the jury is no less than sure, beyond any reasonable doubt in their mind, that you were in an agreement with the others (conspiracy) and that you were intentionally dishonest in making or trying to make money or causing someone loss.
Whilst this is a high threshold for the prosecution to convict you, it is absolutely imperative that you are also defended by fraud solicitors who really do specialise in defending these prosecutions, who have a proven track record of success (see our fraud cases) and fraud solicitors who will go over and beyond the call of duty to try and win your case.
Especially when the stakes are so high, where there is the very real possibility of a lengthy term of imprisonment, where confiscation proceedings are more than certainly to follow the main case and where there is an unimaginable impact of your family members; you must be sure your fraud solicitors are creative problem solvers, are experienced and knowledgeable, are right by your side throughout the case and most of all, are absolutely committed to win.
Our fraud lawyers are experts at unravelling complex and substantial volumes of evidence often associated with advance fee fraud prosecutions. We have a solid and definite history in successfully defending advance fee fraud allegations and we stop at nothing to find valuable defence evidence to strengthen your defence. Whilst we usually adopt a worst-case scenario position, you can be sure that shortcuts have not been taken and we will go as far as possible to evaluate the likely defence strategies of others bring prosecuted in the same case.
One of the biggest fears of an experienced fraud solicitor defending these allegations is the uncertainty of what other accused in the case will say, whether they will blame you and whether they will produce evidence in their own defence which will adversely affect your case. Our fraud solicitors have defended advance fee fraud cases for decades and always start very early on to build the profile and the likely strategy of others accused from the beginning.
What will happen when I instruct a Fraud Lawyer?
We offer a dedicated solicitor, barrister and caseworker to each advance fee fraud case, which will ensure an outstanding level of customer service throughout. You can be sure that someone will always be available to assist you, and there is more than one legal mind being applied to the issues in your case.
Also, we use only the best mobile phone experts and only the most competent financial experts to study, analyse and evaluate the evidence to provide useful defence evidence or discredit the prosecution’s evidence.
We will offer you a free consultation for you to discuss your case with us. We can act for you at the police station free of charge, and then we can look at your financial situation in order to determine if you’re eligible 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.
Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?
If you’d like to have a no obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.
Please contact our fraud solicitors to arrange your meeting, whether face to face, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can also send us a WhatsApp message using the link on this page.
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