Business crime solicitors

Purcell Parker has a proven track record in defending both businesses and individuals in allegations that have been made against them in a professional capacity. If you have been accused of this kind of offence, which is often referred to as white collar crime, it’s important to speak to an expert fraud lawyer as soon as possible.

Business crime defence in Birmingham and beyond

As one of the top criminal law firms in Birmingham, our location in the city centre is convenient for many of the city’s businesses. However, we understand that being accused of a business crime is a stressful experience, and with that in mind we are happy to meet you at a time of your choosing in the West Midlands and beyond.

Financing your business crime defence case

If you are being investigated for a business-related crime you may not be eligible for legal aid. However, in some cases our fraud solicitors will be able to provide you with a competitive fixed-fee quote so you know where you stand financially from the start of the process.

Our first meeting with you is always on a free, no-obligation basis and we will make sure we communicate with you in a clear, plain English way as we work with you to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Types of business crime cases we can help with include the following:

Bribery and corruption

When the Bribery Act 2010 came into force, it was described as the toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world, with some arguing that the tough rules put British business at a disadvantage in a global marketplace where rules are more lenient elsewhere. Certainly, the consequences of non-compliance with the Act are severe, with the following punishments possible:

  • Imprisonment of up to 10 years
  • An unlimited fine
  • Confiscation of property under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • Disqualification of operating as a director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986

Under the Act, bribery is defined as committing bribery, accepting a bribe, bribery of foreign public officials and the failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery in its name. The latter offence makes it essential for UK businesses to have an anti-bribery policy in place in order for them to protect themselves from any employee exposure to bribery and to prove commitment to compliance with the law.

If you have been accused of bribery either as an individual or an employer, it’s crucial to contact a specialist fraud lawyer as soon as possible.

Business expenses

Many professional people travel and entertain clients as part of their professional duties. To facilitate this, companies and organisations of all sizes have policies in place for the claiming of money spent by employees in a professional capacity. Discrepancies in the amount claimed are usually identified as part of the routine checking process and can often be resolved without the need for further action.

However when a business or organisation accuses an individual of falsely claiming for expenses, the repercussions can be severe including disciplinary action, dismissal and police investigations for theft in more serious cases. If you have been accused of an offence of this nature, it’s vital to speak to an experienced solicitor who will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Cyber crime

When most people think of cyber crime they imagine criminal gangs operating in the shadows to con legitimate businesses out of their hard-earned cash. While this is often the case, it’s also true that accusations of cyber crime are often directed at people within an organisation who have access to sensitive company information.

Cyber crime in a business context can be defined as follows:

  • Cyber-dependent crime – hacking and disruption using malware and Denial of Service (DOS) attacks
  • Cyber-enabled crime – using computers and other devices to commit crimes that haven’t traditionally depended on this technology such as fraud and intellectual property crime.

If you have been accused of a cyber crime at work, whether it’s altering records in order to gain more holiday time, fraudulent payments to yourself or another individual, or a role in a larger cyber scam it’s crucial to get expert legal advice as soon as you possibly can. This is because penalties for cyber crimes can vary between two and ten years’ imprisonment for the most serious offences.

Embezzlement

The law surrounding embezzlement (which can be a cyber-enabled crime) is complicated, so if you are facing allegations of this kind of theft, it’s important to speak to one of the specialist fraud lawyers at Purcell Parker as a matter of urgency.

Embezzlement is defined as a type of theft that occurs when a person who has legal access to (but not ownership of) another person’s property or money abuses their position to steal all or part of the assets in question. Due to the fact that those accused in cases like this have a relationship with the alleged victim, there is the potential for misunderstandings to arise. Also, these types of cases often arise in situations where a normally law-abiding person acts out of character due to financial pressures.

Embezzlement is a crime no matter what the circumstances, however Purcell Parker’s fraud solicitors will use their expert and empathetic approach to secure the best outcome in your unique case whether that involves proving your innocence or avoiding a prison sentence in exceptional circumstances.

 

False accounting

False accounting is a type of fraud that involves a business, or an individual within a business, altering, destroying or omitting information on company accounts for their own gain or to facilitate financial loss to another party. It can involve:

  • Attempting to make the business appear more financially robust than it truly is in order to attract investment, boost customer confidence or to artificially inflate a share price
  • Hiding losses, news of which could adversely affect the business
  • Covering up theft or other forms of fraud
  • Evading tax by under-declaring income
  • Perverting the course of justice in a criminal investigation

It’s important to remember that in the eyes of the law an ‘account’ does not have to be a document. It could be a ticket turnstile at an event or a taxi meter. If you have been implicated in false accounting, either alone or as part of a conspiracy, it’s essential to speak to a specialist fraud solicitor at the earliest opportunity.

Accusations of false accounting can arise due to honest mistakes or individuals acting under pressure from an employer or on inaccurate information. In instances where this is the case, Purcell Parker’s fraud solicitors can help. Where appropriate we will arrange for a forensic accountant to prepare a report to help the defence case. During this process we will work with you at all stages to establish areas where confusion has arisen and mistakes have been made.

Pension fraud

Stealing money from pension funds, diverting employee pension payments into another account, mis-selling pensions and setting up fake employees in order to receive fraudulent payments are serious offences, which in the most serious of cases can result in prison sentences. If you are being investigated for any offence in relation to this, it’s important to talk to a fraud lawyer as soon as possible.

Perverting the course of justice

Also known as ‘obstruction of justice’, taking steps to knowingly interfere with the fair ruling of the law is a criminal offence, which can have serious consequences, ranging from a fine to life imprisonment in the most serious of cases.

Examples include:

  • Hiding evidence relevant to a police investigation or criminal trial
  • Falsely accusing somebody of committing an offence, either to cover up a crime or motivated by malice
  • Interfering with witnesses or members of a jury in order to influence the outcome of a case
  • Threatening witnesses or members of a jury in order to influence the outcome of a criminal trial
  • Giving false evidence in an interview with the authorities or in court
  • Providing a false alibi to someone accused of a crime

Perverting the course of justice can happen in relation to any criminal investigation but it is very often an issue in business crime cases, for example when an individual is accused of hiding, destroying or tampering with accounts or documents in order to conceal a white collar crime such as embezzlement or false accounting. This can be an incredibly difficult area of the law to navigate, with the possibility of misunderstandings, mistakes and coercion within companies a very real one.

If you are in the unfortunate position of being accused of perverting the course of justice in relation to a white collar case, the experienced business crime solicitors at Purcell Parker can help.

Racketeering

Most people’s understanding of racketeering comes from the depiction of protection rackets in American mafia movies, where business owners are coerced into paying for ‘protection’ from a threat of crime that will only manifest if the payment is not received. As such, racketeering can be defined as a repeated or continuous criminal activity where money is obtained through extortion or coercion. As well as the more traditional protection rackets traditionally operated by crime families, racketeering can be a factor in other organised crime activities such as money laundering and cyber crime.

If you have been accused of crimes relating to coercion or extortion, it’s vital to take the advice of a specialist solicitor as early as possible.

 

 

Theft

Far from being a victimless crime, theft in the workplace is estimated to cost the UK economy over £190 billion a year. There are two types of workplace theft:

  • Tangible theft – where a physical item is stolen such as money from a safe or a coat from a shop floor.
  • Intangible theft – where intellectual property is stolen, for example copyrighted material or software.

Cases of employees committing theft against employers can vary from stealing a few pounds from a till, to far more serious transgressions. However, no matter what the circumstances, being accused of theft at work can have a devastating effect on your reputation and your future job prospects. For that reason, as soon as you are aware of any allegations being made against you, it’s vital to speak to a criminal defence solicitor as early as you possibly can in order to plan your defence case.

Business crime solicitors on your side

Here at Purcell Parker, we understand the stress of being accused of a white collar offence, particularly if this is your first experience of being accused of a crime. For more information on how we can help, please call us on 0121 236 9781 or email us on info@purcellparker.co.uk.