Fraud rises to twenty year high

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Fraud rises to twenty year high

Simon Quicke

The level of fraud in the UK has reached record breaking proportions with the number of cases coming to court topping levels not seen over the last 20 years.

According to the KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer the last decade saw a significant shift upwards in the level of criminal activity with £7bn of fraud and 1,750 cases in the 2000s compared to £5bn and 700 cases in the 1990s.

One of the problems last year was a higher than usual level of management fraud with £335m of cases coming to court and employees did their fair share of harm racking up £232m.

Computerisation has made fraud easier and that trend is expected to continue said Hitesh Patel, partner at KPMG Forensic.

"Britain appears to have a rising fraud problem, as is evident by looking at the steady increase through the last ten years," Patel added "The credit crunch will undoubtedly make the situation worse, and we are yet to see the full impact of it."

"The comfort, if there is any, is that more fraud cases are successfully being brought to court."

One example of the industry using their skills for fraudulent ways came in the case of a Scottish IT professional who printed £185,000 of his own fake bank notes to fund a business venture. His reward was a five year stretch.

KPMG has also sent out an early warning around the potential for fraud connected with the 2012 Olympics.

Record fraud in 2009 closes out the 'naughty Noughties' - KPMG Fraud Barometer

Fraud by victim (Jan-Dec 2009)

Victim Total (£) Number of cases
Government 476,210,298 59
Investor 339,281,908 27
Financial Institutions 396,352,550 79
Commercial Business 58,425,163 59
Other 44,156,217 47

Total 1,314,426,135 271

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