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Fraud & business crime solicitors

Serious fraud overview - intro

Serious fraud, business crimes and financial crimes are being actively pursued by prosecutors and regulators. If you or your business is suspected of financial crime, serious fraud or business crime (also known as white-collar) then you will need specialist legal advice from the outset as to how to deal with the authorities and challenge any demands they make. Our expert serious fraud solicitors can be contacted on 01616 966 229.

Why you need specialist advice if you have been accused of serious fraud

You may need specialist advice on restraint of assets and potential confiscation proceedings which can be very damaging to your business. You need to know your reputation and business will be robustly defended by nationally recognised experts. At Stephensons, our specialist team of serious fraud solicitors understand the damage that can be caused to a person's reputation and has defended directors, professionals, senior management and large high-profile cases. Discretion is paramount and we can help you to manage any potential adverse publicity. Crisis management is often as difficult as the allegation itself and we can help minimise the damage that adverse publicity can do.

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Top Legal 500 company for serious fraud solicitors

The Legal 500 has recognised Stephensons as a top tier serious fraud law firm in the UK. A prestigious publication, the Legal 500 commented:

"The financial crime department at Stephensons Solicitors LLP defends clients in high-profile investigations and prosecutions brought by organisations including the SFO, FCA, HSE and HMRC. The practice is particularly recognised for its VHCC work, handling land-banking issues, Ponzi schemes, boiler room issues, and VAT and investment fraud, as well as tax evasion and money laundering mandates. 'Stand-out performer' Correna Platt, who has significant experience representing clients in serious fraud, restraint and confiscation orders and proceeds of crime issues, jointly heads up the practice with Sean Joyce." - Legal 500 2022

“Stephensons Solicitors LLP regularly handles complex criminal fraud cases and attracts work from all over the UK. The team handles cases involving a range of issues, such as land-banking, Ponzi schemes, boiler room, VAT and investment fraud, as well as proceeds of crime, money laundering, tax evasion and restraint orders. The team often defends clients on high-profile investigations and prosecutions brought by a range of agencies such as the SFO, HMRC, the FCA, HSE and the Environment Agency (EA). Correna Platt, who is 'exceptional' and Sean Joyce lead the team, and consultant John Greenwood is 'very experienced'." Legal 500 2020

"Stephensons Solicitors LLP field a ‘very professional and committed team' that includes the ‘highly knowledgeable and experienced' Correna Platt, and John Greenwood, who is an accredited supervisor under the Legal Aid Agency panel for very high-cost cases. Platt is praised for her ‘tenacity, work ethic, incisive thinking and dedication to ensuring that she gets the best possible outcome for her clients; she has a thoroughly well-deserved reputation for excellence and she is a top tier criminal solicitor when it comes to defending those charged with serious offences'. Also recommended is Sean Joyce, who has ‘built up a very good name for himself in this field'. The team regularly acts in the most high-value and substantial cases such as land-banking, Ponzi and VAT as well as other areas such as investment fraud, the proceeds of crime and money laundering.

Our experienced team of serious fraud lawyers has the expertise and knowledge to look at the required level of detail to defend you. Contact our expert fraud solicitors on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form.

Serious Fraud FAQs

If you are facing a serious fraud investigation, then you will need expert legal representation. Stephensons’ serious fraud solicitors have defended many high-profile investigations and prosecutions. We know it is essential to have a solicitor who is experienced in defending large scale, complex fraud. Our experience means we are in a position to defend cases brought by a variety of agencies including the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In addition, we are members of several specialist associations including; the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers and the Fraud Lawyers Association. For more information about serious fraud, read our FAQs.

What is serious fraud?

Serious fraud is generally defined as high-level serious or complex fraud. This can include investment fraud, such as Ponzi schemes or boiler room fraud as well as corporate fraud, which can involve illegal asset stripping and fraudulent trading. The Serious Fraud Office is generally responsible for investigating such crimes.

How serious is fraud?

How serious the fraud accusation is, will depend on the nature and extent of the fraud that has been committed, and your role within it. According to the Fraud Act 2006, there are three classes of fraud: 

  • Fraud by false representation
  • Fraud by failing to disclose information
  • Fraud by abuse of position.

Depending on the nature of the crime committed and the harm that was either caused or intended, then you can face a substantial fine and/or a prison sentence.

What is the maximum sentencing for serious fraud?

Sentencing for serious fraud is complex and depends on the crime that has been committed, a person’s role in that crime and the level of harm that has been committed or intended. Generally, the maximum sentence for fraud is ten years in prison and a substantial fine. It is also possible, depending on the type of fraud, that a confiscation order will be made. This may mean that any proceeds made from the crime may be confiscated and may be used to compensate victims.

When sentencing, a judge will decide, based on the evidence and the particulars of the case, what the sentence will be. It will normally be possible to get a reduced sentence for a guilty plea. Other punishments that may be levied include:

  • Disqualification from acting as a company director
  • Deprivation orders
  • Financial reporting order
  • A serious crime prevention order.

How much jail time can you get for fraud?

How much jail time you can get for fraud will depend on the nature of the crime committed. Depending on the category level, custodial sentences can go up to ten years for the most serious fraud crimes.

Business crime solicitors

Our business crime solicitors can advise on an extensive range of fraud and regulatory matters including; large scale fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, health and safety offences and environmental prosecutions. We have established relationships with a broad spectrum of independent experts to assist in the defence of these allegations, including forensic accountants, computer analysts, handwriting experts and many others. We only instruct the very best. We complement our expertise with the selection of barristers and QC’s with a proven track record in these areas.

We pride ourselves on challenging every aspect of the allegation and often advise on difficult areas of law including abuse of the prosecution process, judicial review and challenging the legality of orders. We firmly believe that justice means you are innocent until proven guilty. If you have been accused of a business crime, then contact our business crime solicitors today.

What is business crime?

The business crime definition, according to National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), is:

“Any criminal offence that is committed against a person or property that is associated with the connection of that person or property to a business. Based on the perception of the victim.”

Typical types of business crime include:

  • Cybercrime and fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Embezzlement
  • Tax evasion
  • Health and safety offences
  • Environmental prosecutions
  • Serious and complex fraud.

If you are found guilty of a business crime, you may have to pay a substantial fine, face a community order or a prison sentence.

Financial crime lawyers

Our financial crime lawyers can offer legal representation and advise on an extensive range of financial crimes including:

  • Banking fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Bribery

At Stephensons, we have excellent relationships with independent experts that include forensic accountants, computer analysts and many others. They assist us with the defence of our clients and we only instruct the very best. If your case goes to court, we have a selection of expert barristers and QCs with a proven track record in these areas help defend your case. We also have the expertise to help you deal with any investigations from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are members of the Financial Services Lawyers Association (FSLA).

What is financial crime?

The definition of financial crime is a crime committed against property, involving the unlawful conversion of the ownership of property (belonging to one person) to one's own personal use and benefit. This can include a whole host of crimes such as the ones listed above and others including credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, insider trading and counterfeiting.

Types of serious fraud, business crime and financial crime we take on

Our serious fraud, business crime and financial crime solicitors have years of experience in dealing with serious and complex crimes. Due to the sensitivity of the types of cases we take on, we cannot disclose much information regarding cases we have worked on, however, here is just a snapshot of the type of cases we have defended:

Serious fraud

  • We represented an independent financial adviser facing multiple charges of fraud
  • We have been instructed in a complex case involving fraud, false accounting and money laundering allegations
  • We represented clients are being investigated in relation to fraud involving 100 victims and a value estimated at £2 million
  • We represented the director of a training company; limited the fraud and thereby restricted any proceeds of crime application
  • We represented a client in relation to an allegation of fraud with added elements including confiscation proceedings and deportation.

Benefit fraud

  • A defendant and his co-accused were all charged with fraudulently obtaining housing benefit in respect of properties that they rented out. The defendant's proceeds of crime were reduced by £1.5m from what was originally claimed.

Financial crime

  • We represented a defendant, her husband and her son who had been charged with money laundering
  • We were involved in a case involving fraud, false accounting and money laundering allegations

Business crime

We have been involved in a high profile and complex VAT fraud case.

If you are facing charges for serious fraud, financial crime or business crime, then contact your expert Legal 500 recommended solicitors today on 01616 966 229 .

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Staff reoder - serious fraud

  • Correna Platt
  • Sean Joyce
  • Martin Pizzey
  • Colin Rawson
  • Andrea Woods
  • Duncan Phillips
  • John Greenwood