No room for complacency in fight against fraudsters, says KPMG

Annette Barker, Partner and Head of Consulting in the North at KPMG,
Annette Barker, Partner and Head of Consulting in the North at KPMG,
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Yorkshire and the North East has witnessed a fall in the value of fraud cases heard in the region’s courts over the last six months, according to the latest KPMG Fraud Barometer.

The value of fraud cases reaching court during the first half of 2019 was £18.2 million, compared with £54.4 million during the same period last year. The number of cases in the first six months of the year also fell, decreasing from 31 to 25.

The fall can be attributed to a significant decrease in the value of management fraud – down from £37.7 million to £9.1 million – despite there only being two fewer cases than the eight heard in the same period last year. The decrease in value is partially due to a £21.0 million investment fraud in the first half of 2018.

Professional criminals continue to be the most likely perpetrator of fraud, accounting for a third (36 per cent) of cases heard with a value of more than £100,000.

Annette Barker, partner and head of consulting in the North at KPMG, said: “A fall in the value and frequency of fraud might be welcome, but we shouldn’t become complacent. Quite simply, the fight against fraudsters is far from over. The latest stats simply show that the threats that we all face are constantly changing, and so vigilance and preparation are key.

“Businesses remain a popular target for fraudsters, with examples of VAT fraud and embezzlement serving as a reminder that internal controls are just as important as protecting from external threats.”

Cases to reach the region’s courts during this period included:

A practice manager in York who admitted carrying out a fraud involving more than £596,000 at the GP surgery where she worked.

A Bradford family that narrowly escaped prison for its part in a £500,000 counterfeit clothing conspiracy that breached the trademarks of brands including the Arctic Monkeys and Motorhead.

Harrogate-based PPI claims bosses who stole £1million of client money and treated themselves to lavish holidays, luxury cars and private schooling for their children. Both received suspended prison sentences.

A fraudster who was jailed for three years after scamming an elderly North Yorkshire woman out of £400,000 by convincing her that her bank account was under attack.