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If you or someone close to you faces a first fraud by abuse of position charge, feeling anxious and eager to begin building your defence is understandable. Fraud by abuse of position is a serious offence and engaging an expert fraud defence solicitor quickly can critically impact your case. This article explains the offence, provides some relatable examples, discusses sentencing of first-timers, and analyses imprisonment risks. We also outline how to get in touch with our team for robust legal assistance, should your case proceed.
Fraud by abuse of position is an offence under the Fraud Act 2006. It is one of the core ways that fraud can be committed under the Act.
Under Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006, a person is in breach of this provision if they occupy a position where they are expected to safeguard, or not act against, the financial interests of another person, dishonestly abuses that position, and intends, by doing so, to make a gain for themselves or another, or to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
For a prosecution to secure a conviction for fraud by abuse of position, the following elements must be proven:
The offence can lead to substantial penalties like imprisonment and fines depending on the circumstances of the case. It can be tried in either the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. The exact punishment corresponds to factors like the scale of the fraud and the context surrounding it.
Examples of this offence include:
If you are suspected of fraud by abuse of position in the UK, you will likely face investigation and potential prosecution under the Fraud Act 2006.
Here’s a general outline of what could happen:
Getting legal advice at the earliest opportunity is vital in these circumstances.
Fraud by abuse of position is prosecuted under the Fraud Act 2006 and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Because the offence involves abusing one’s position of trust to dishonestly make a gain or cause loss, the courts want to ensure that any punishment given reflects the severity of the betrayal committed to discourage the offenders and others from doing the same thing again.
Aggravating factors like large scale fraud, sophisticated schemes, targeting vulnerable victims, or previous convictions can increase the sentence given. Mitigating factors, on the other hand, may reduce the sentence; these include early guilty pleas, showing remorse, or making amends. Additional penalties can include confiscation of criminal assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Professional regulators like the Solicitors Regulation Authority or Financial Conduct Authority may also pursue disciplinary sanctions like fines, bans, or stripping professional qualifications if the offender belongs to a regulated profession.
There are several potential defences that can be raised in response to allegations of fraud by abuse of position:
Remember that fraud by abuse of position is a serious offence that breaches the trust placed in individuals in positions of authority. As such, courts treat defences with some hesitancy and so having an expert solicitor on side is extremely important.
Predicting whether a first time fraud by abuse of position offence could result in imprisonment is difficult, as numerous factors are considered during sentencing. The scale of abuse and damage caused are key considerations – extensive betrayals of trust are viewed extremely harshly. Harm to public confidence in institutions will also be weighed, with severe reputational damage increasing chances of custody.
Mitigating factors like previous good character, remorse, cooperation and attempting restitution may assist first-time offenders in arguing against incarceration. That said, aggravating factors like acting out of greed, covering up misconduct, or exploiting a sensitive role point towards harsher punishment.
While minor technical breaches may warrant suspended sentences, judges are very reluctant to suspend sentences for serious abuses of power given the gravity. Those facing prosecution should obtain expert legal advice on realistic prospects of imprisonment based on precedents for comparable cases. An experienced fraud defence lawyer can present mitigation arguments to potentially avoid a custodial sentence.
If you or someone close to you is facing prosecution for fraud by abuse of position, expert legal advice early on is critical to understanding your next best steps and longer term options. For those with clean records, charges can sometimes even be avoided altogether through skilled negotiation. Contact the fraud team at Stuart Miller Solicitors today for a free case assessment.
A legal expert will consult you within 24 hours of making an enquiry.
We will always treat you with trust, understanding and respect.
Your case will be handled by an expert who specialises in your type of offence.
We will take early action to end proceedings as soon as it is practically and legally possible to do so.
You will be kept updated on your case at all times. We will provide a named contact available to answer your questions.
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