Fraud defence solicitors
Our considerable experience in pursuing fraud related claims means that we understand the need to act swiftly to provide strategic advice enabling you to trace and freeze stolen assets.
Is there a difference between civil fraud and criminal fraud?
There are many differences, but in short civil fraud is pursued by the victim(s) by way of a private action in the civil courts to seek recovery of the sums/assets which have been taken and/or the payment of compensation/damages to the victim(s). The decision in a civil trial will be made by a Judge.
Criminal fraud is a criminal offence which will be prosecuted by the prosecuting authorities (If the prosecuting authorities are not prepared to bring proceedings, in certain circumstances an individual or an entity can bring a private prosecution in the criminal courts against a defendant (and in respect of other offences)). In the criminal courts (Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court) with the sanctions likely to be a fine and/or imprisonment. The decision in a criminal trial will be made by a jury.
What sanctions can be imposed on a defendant?
In civil proceedings a successful victim may obtain an order that the defendant repay the money/assets taken and or pay damages to the victim. There is no sanction by way of punishment.
Depending on the offence for which the defendant is convicted, the court in which he is convicted and the value of the fraud, a criminal Judge can impose a prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or an unlimited fine.
In the UK there is no legal obligation to report a fraud to the police or to any other body, unless you and/or your business are part of a regulated sector that has a duty to do so.
In criminal proceedings the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the alleged fraud.