Investors could put their life savings, homes and retirement funds on the line in the hopes of realising gains on land. Those who are duped by scams of this nature are typically elderly, foreign nationals or those with a large sum of disposable income to invest. Land banking fraud is on the increase. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) estimates that it has cost the UK economy approximately £200 million. Allegations often involve parcels of land for sale with potential for huge profits upon the grant of planning permission and development. The profit to be made is exaggerated and that amounts to the fraud.
A significant portion of the case rests on the prosecution’s allegation that the realistic prospects of planning permission being granted were very little (or none) and those accused, deliberately and dishonestly exaggerated those prospects to lure investors to part with money. The intention, elements of dishonesty, due diligence undertaken and potential compliance with planning permission regulations are core areas for the defence to consider.
People who are being accused of this offence can feel very nervous when they think of the consequences of being found guilty. It’s likely that they will be imprisoned and bonds with loved ones will be threatened. It could be difficult to earn an income to support dependents and relationships will be tested.
It’s important to take the legal guidance of land banking fraud solicitors as soon as you have any idea that you are being investigated. We are also known as specialist investment fraud solicitors in London.
Have you been accused of or arrested with Land Banking Fraud?
If you or somebody you care about has been accused of land banking fraud, you’re most likely feeling very worried.
In some instances, a person will have been accused of playing a part, but in reality, they have had no involvement whatsoever. In situations like this, it’s crucial that you get your name cleared.
Land banking Fraud is an offence that the police want to be seen to be eradicating. It’s an offence that is similar to boiler room fraud.
If you’ve been falsely accused of it, then you will need legal help from competent fraud solicitors. Receiving false accusations can damage the reputation of you and your business. It’s essential to take early action to provide you with a strong defence.
To help you understand more about what might take place during a land banking fraud case, we have put together our clients’ most frequently asked questions with the answers. We aim to help you by providing some guidance and support as you go through this challenging situation.
If you have a question, and you cannot find the answer here, get in touch with us, and we will do what we can to give you the information that you need. You can call us on 0208 888 5225.
What type of actions are considered Land Banking Fraud?
Every act of land banking fraud is aimed at misleading an investor to buy a piece of land. Typically the land will be offered with an exceptional potential of price increase once planning permission has been granted or a lucrative development has been approved either on the land or nearby.
Investigations of land banking fraud are typically complex and can be a strain on any business or person involved. The emotional stress can be very challenging, and it’s crucial that you take the guidance of an experienced lawyer who can help you with this matter in a supportive and sensitive manner.
What happens in a Land Banking Fraud investigation?
Both the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and the police have an interest in stamping out land banking fraud. These cases are pursued aggressively to a conclusion.
The paper trail involved in these situations can be very complicated. Quite often, the frauds are on a national scale and involve many different people. There could be architects, planners and others involved in conning people into buying land that has little or no planning potential.
Being at the centre of an investigation into land banking fraud can put much pressure onto a person. There will be concerns about what impact it will have on your business and on your family. If you are given a prison sentence, you will not be able to care and provide for them in the way you have done in the past.
Every land banking fraud case is unique. No matter what size of your role, it’s essential that you speak with an experienced land banking fraud legal specialist. You’ll gain access to all the legal support, guidance and advice that you need to achieve the best possible outcome.
In some circumstances, a good fraud lawyer may even be able to get your case dismissed.
You may have been falsely accused of land banking fraud
If you are falsely accused of fraud, you must engage specialist fraud solicitors who have the knowledge, the skill and expertise in land banking fraud allegations. Fraud solicitors who will be pro-active and not reactive. Fraud solicitors who will meticulously scrutinise the prosecution’s evidence, who will challenge the exaggeration and lies of the investors, who will collect all available evidence to support your defence case.
Many cases will involve numerous individuals, and it is crucial to test the prosecution case to the limit and be prepared for any one of the others to provide damaging evidence. People facing many years of imprisonment are afraid, are nervous and think of the impact of a conviction on their loved ones. Regardless of the relationship you may all have once enjoyed, the prospect of imprisonment erases those previous bonds and forces people to compare their personal morals against their liberty.
More often than not, the retention of liberty wins and in cases of this nature, where numerous people are trusted to work together, savvy and switched on fraud solicitors will be working on assuming the worst-case scenario position; that one of the others will blame you for the dishonesty and for the fraud as a whole.
In such cases, we will take details instructions from you on the day to day functions of every person and how or to what extent, each person has benefited or contributed. Whether the defence strategy falls on the feet of attacking the others or not, is a matter which can be decided during the trial but we seek not to leave any stone unturned in being fully prepared to win your case.
It’s crucial that you take the legal counsel of a specialist fraud solicitor. A competent and skilful fraud solicitor may even be able to get your case dismissed. The outcome will be that you can get back to your life and enjoy it as you were before being falsely accused of a crime you didn’t do.
Occasionally, the prosecution will involve you as part of a throwing mud exercise. Their goal is to find out if any of the mud sticks. However, a good solicitor will be able to protect you against that.
Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible
We recommend that you do not, under any circumstances, attend any police interview without being supported by a proficient fraud solicitor.
Police officers have been trained to ask the most probing and intrusive questions. You may be shown evidence that the police want to use to prove their case against you. The interview is likely to be high pressure and potentially upsetting. They may use tactics designed to have you trap yourself with your answers.
A fraud solicitor will advise you and guide you so that you put yourself into a position for the best possible outcome.
What should you do if you get arrested or charged with land banking fraud?
Your first step should be to engage the help of an experienced fraud solicitor. They will give you the support you need to be able to get through the case and potential court appearance.
Land banking fraud is a specialist area of fraud. It’s uncommon to find solicitors who have the depth of experience that we do. It’s vital that you get represented by somebody who knows the law inside and out. Although you aren’t obligated to take a lawyer, it’s advisable to do so. With the speed at which laws change in the UK, it’s crucial to be continually on top of them; they are hard to comprehend.
The best defence strategy in land banking fraud is to examine all evidence, including witness statements plus any paperwork, documents, plans and architectural recommendations.
Can the police search my home?
The police will be keen to find further evidence and will, therefore, seek a search warrant from the courts. They will want to conduct searches in your home, your vehicle and possibly your workplace. Their search may include your phone records, bank statements, images and email.
What type of sentence could you get for Land Banking Fraud?
It’s typical for those involved in land banking fraud to receive a custodial sentence as the sums of money involved are usually very high.
Prosecutions are either brought as conspiracy to defraud or fraud by false representations. In any event, the maximum sentence is 10 years’ imprisonment which is unlikely to be imposed unless the case is of astronomical value and significance.
The sentence range depends on your involvement and your role in the fraud but on average, if you were convicted of land banking fraud, you would expect a term of imprisonment of between 2 and 5 years.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
Our fraud solicitors will be examining the evidence meticulously. Where there are schedules of telephone contact, observation evidence, banking records, etc. these are analysed and the client is involved in providing an explanation of the significance of the evidence. After all, there are always two sides to a story. We may also be seeing witnesses, taking statements, gathering documentary evidence in the UK or abroad and preparing other relevant evidence to present the client’s case in best light.
Interviewing architects who may have drawn up plans, speaking to planning officers who may have provided preliminary advice on the proposals, checking the specification of the land against publishes planning permission rules and regulations online are all crucial tasks for a land banking fraud lawyer.
Thereafter it is fundamental to see what the funds received were used for. Whether any applications were in fact made, whether the funds were feeding exuberant lifestyles, excessive commission payments and bring withdrawn out in cash. In any event, if such factors did exist, our fraud solicitors will establish your compliance with Companies Act legislation and the satisfaction of HMRC liabilities on funds collected.
This is the core benefit of instructing exclusively fraud solicitors who defend fraud cases on a daily basis. We develop fraud solicitors to be commercially savvy and to have the skills to advise on all areas of importance to someone facing land banking fraud allegations. Matters of restraint orders, cash detention, property seizures, money laundering and confiscation are within the fluent knowledge of our fraud lawyers.
Want to discuss your case with a Land Banking Fraud Solicitor ?
Taking speedy and early action is important to increase the chances of success. You will require tactical advice at every turn. Please contact us and ask to speak to our fraud solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find on this page.
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 on 0208 888 5225.