If you are being investigated for a fraud-related offence, the first step in the process is to contact Purcell Parker’s expert fraud lawyers. As one of Birmingham’s top criminal law firms, with a wealth of experience dealing with fraud cases in the city and beyond, we can help with everything from providing advice about dealing with interviews under caution to giving you the whole picture when it comes to the potential consequences of being investigated for fraud.
Financing your fraud case
In circumstances where legal aid is available and you qualify for it, we can apply for this on your behalf. However many people facing fraud charges are required to finance the legal costs associated with their case privately. In these circumstances we may be able to provide you with an upfront fixed-fee quote for your case. Our first meeting with you will always be on a free, no-obligation basis and we can meet you at a location of your choosing to discuss your case.
Types of fraud investigations our solicitors can help with include:
Advance fee fraud
Advance fee fraud is defined as taking payment for goods or services that never materialise. The consequences of being found guilty of this kind of fraud can be severe, so if you have been implicated in a scheme it’s essential to get expert legal advice from a fraud lawyer as soon as possible.
Types of advance fee fraud include inheritance fraud, sports tips scams, online dating scams, career opportunity scams, lottery prize scams, timeshare fraud and pet selling scams. Another common type of advanced fee fraud is a so-called 419 scam which is a type of identity fraud where fraudsters send letters or emails promising individuals a cash reward if they provide their bank details in order to move large sums of money from one country to another. The money is never paid and the bank details are used to steal money.
Advance fee fraud can often also be defined as cyber fraud when it involves the online theft of personal data with the intent of using this information for financial gain. This includes hacking and emails or phone calls designed to trick people into parting with money or passwords and other sensitive information in what are sometimes sophisticated and convincing scams.
Being accused of benefit fraud is an upsetting experience, particularly when you fear you may lose your benefits. At Purcell Parker our fraud solicitors can help you if you are in this situation, first of all by advising whether the benefits in question are ‘sanctionable’, meaning they can be taken from you. The term benefits is used to describe a huge variety of payments from the government and many, such as child benefit, child tax credit and state pension will not be taken away from you even if you are found guilty of benefit fraud. However, this does not detract from the seriousness of being investigated for benefit fraud by Fraud Investigation Officers (FIOs) who have the power to decide whether there are grounds for prosecution.
The benefits system can be complicated and it is common for people to make errors in their applications or mistakenly claim for benefits which they are no longer entitled to. For this reason, it’s crucial to contact the fraud solicitors at Purcell Parker as soon as you find out you are being investigated. We can use our extensive experience in benefits fraud to advise on how to move forwards for the best possible outcome for your case.
Blue badge misuse
If you have been invited to an interview under caution in relation to blue badge misuse or fraud, it’s important to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible, as a conviction for fraud and a criminal record are possible outcomes for misuse of a disabled person’s blue badge or for fraudulent abuse of a blue badge.
Buying and returning goods on the internet fraud
The shift to online shopping has resulted in the very modern offence of ‘buying and selling goods on the internet fraud’, also known as ‘wardrobing’ or ‘free renting’. If you have been accused of this it means that a retailer has reported you for habitually defrauding them by using items then returning them, or returning stolen goods for cash. This is an emerging area of the law where misunderstandings can easily arise, so if you have been accused of this type of cyber-enabled fraud, get in touch for expert legal advice on how to proceed.
If you have been accused of the serious offence of insurance fraud, it’s important to speak to an expert fraud lawyer as soon as possible as insurance companies actively seek to identify the fraudulent claims that cost them millions in lost revenue each year. Punishments can be severe and involve imprisonment of up to ten years in the most serious cases. Insurance fraud can involve the deliberate setting in motion of a chain of events (such as setting a building on fire) in order to fraudulently claim insurance. It’s also the term used to describe submitting a false claim for something that was never lost or stolen or exaggerating the value of goods that genuinely were lost or stolen.
Mortgage fraud involves defrauding either a financial institution or a private lender during the lending process. Under the definition set out in the Fraud Act 2006, mortgage fraud can take the form of fraud by false representation or fraud by failing to disclose information.
Penalties for mortgage fraud can be severe, with prison sentences of up to ten years a possibility for the most serious cases of large scale mortgage fraud. Those convicted may also find themselves subject to a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. For this reason, if you are being prosecuted for mortgage-related fraud, it’s important to speak to one of the specialist fraud solicitors at Purcell Parker as soon as possible.
The most serious fraud cases are dealt with by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), an organisation that was specifically set up both to prosecute and investigate these kinds of complex cases. At Purcell Parker, our fraud lawyers have represented clients at locations including Southwark Crown Court in London, where many serious fraud cases are tried. With lengthy prison sentences a possibility for those accused of the most serious fraud, expert legal representation from the start of the process is essential.