Yorkshire fraud cases up 174pc to £41m

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The value of fraud cases heard in Yorkshire’s Crown Courts jumped 174 per cent to £41m in the first half of the year, according to KPMG’s Fraud Barometer.

A single case worth £30m in losses meant the total value of fraud cases in the region jumped £26m between January and June 2015, compared with the same period last year.

The alleged £30m fraud, which was heard at York Crown Court, was said to involve websites that mimicked official government sites and tricked people into unnecessarily paying for services.

Nationally, the value of fraud cases rose 22 per cent year-on-year to £385m across 160 cases.

KPMG’s Fraud Barometer measures cases with losses of £100,000 or more that have reached the UK courts.

While fraud volumes across the country have remained static, the average value of losses climbed 21 per cent to £2.4m.

Excluding the £30m case, frauds in Yorkshire courts would have fallen £4m to £11m, compared to £15m in H1 2014.

Among these cases was a £450,000 land development fraud by false representation, for which a North Yorkshire was jailed for four years. In another case, a lorry driver pleaded guilty to evading £665,000 in tax on cigarettes he attempted to smuggle into the UK.

Vivien Hopkins, director at KPMG Forensic in Yorkshire, said there was a series of significant frauds below £1m, “largely perpetrated by male professional criminals or management figures”.

On average, fraudsters who have syphoned money from organisations and clients have taken £600,000 before being found out, she said.

Ms Hopkins said: “It’s a real warning for anyone who allows others to handle their money, to make robust checks on who they are dealing with, and for business owners to maintain controls and scrutiny over those in a position to redirect funds out of the company.”