Thousands of fraud offences not investigated – how can victims get justice?

A report published today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) suggests many alleged fraud offences were never investigated by police.

The report by HMICFRS entitled “CYBER – Keep the light on” is an inspection into the police response to cyber crime and suggests that up to 7500 alleges cyber offences were never investigated by police as they were apparently quarantined within the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s database, Know Fraud after being reported by victims to Action Fraud. The report explains that following the updating of the Known Fraud system in October last year a significant number of reports were isolated and never actioned as the system falsely identified them as containing malicious coding. In those cases the alleged fraud offences were never investigated and victims were not informed.

How Fraud Victims can Achieve Justice

In this article, Burton Copeland Partner Damian Wall reveals another way for victims of fraud to achieve justice.

“It is hardly a news exclusive to suggest that public services are underfunded and despite whatever ministers suggest there is clearly a public perception that the lack of investment into the Police Service has led to an increase in crime and defects in the detection of crime. One area particularly affected has been the area of Economic Crime. In addition to the problems with Action Fraud highlighted by HMICFRS, anecdotally we have heard of people being told that the matter they wished to report to the police was not a police matter and that individuals should seek civil redress.

Whether it is inertia by the authorities or under-resourcing some of the failings of the Criminal Justice System can be remedied by the victims of white collar financial crime and fraud

by taking out a Private Prosecution. The increase in the use of this option has lead recently to the Private Prosecutors Association publishing a Code of Practice akin to the Code of the Crown Prosecution Service

The highly publicised, but failed attempt to Prosecute Boris Johnson should not dissuade anyone from considering this option. The particular facts of that case were such that the decision of the Magistrate to issue the summons was deemed to have been inappropriate, however in a great many instances, in particular incidents involving fraud the tool of Private Prosecution can be extremely useful.

It is not just in the realm of general crime that this facility can be utilised, seeking justice on behalf of people who have been the victim of scams that the Financial Conduct Authority or the Information Commissioner decide not to prosecute is another area where a Private Prosecution can be a wise choice. As well as the punishment of the offender following conviction, there are other attractive features including the potential to recover costs of the prosecution from the defendant and Confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Although the proceeds of a confiscation order will usually go to the state, the Court has the power to order that a compensation order be made and paid out of the proceeds of the confiscation order, meaning that in cases where the defendant has realisable assets, any monies lost in the fraud could be reimbursed in full.

Expert Fraud Solicitors

At Burton Copeland have an extraordinary reputation for expertise in handling difficult and complex fraud cases, which we are putting to use to assist those potential clients who chose to privately prosecute alleged offenders.

If you need advice or further information, please contact one of the team today.