Defending serious fraud allegations

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What was the challenge?

In December 2018, our client – the director of a successful supply company – was accused of committing a serious and sophisticated fraud, by falsifying invoices to enhance payments from a contractor directly to his company. The alleged fraud involved two other defendants, who were represented by different law firms. A fraud conviction would have resulted in him being barred from being a company director.

How did we help?

We protected and represented our client’s legal interests – from the police station all the way to the magistrates’ court proceedings.

We advised him on criminal law, including evidential and public interest tests. We explained how the law of fraud works, and what prosecution needs to prove for a successful conviction.

Thanks to our experience of acting for clients at all stages of criminal proceedings, we were able to collaborate with representatives of the other defendants to protect all clients’ interests.

We worked with fraud disclosure officers, too, to ensure that all relevant material was received within the confines of the criminal procedural rules, and we made written representations to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In these, we demonstrated that no fraudulent activity had taken place within the company or had been committed by our client.

In doing so, we successfully persuaded the magistrates’ court that the prosecution had not met the evidential test, and that it was not in the public interest to continue with the case given the significant evidential weaknesses within it.

What was the outcome?

Throughout the proceedings, we were conscious of the detrimental impact any conviction for fraud would have for the client, his company, and his employees. Had the client been convicted, the Crown would have included an application to obtain compensation relying upon proceeds of crime legislation.

But given the evidential flaws within the case, the Crown accepted our representations that no fraud had taken place and withdrew the allegations at the first appearance before the magistrates’ court, with no case for our client to answer. This saved our client legal fees, and potentially lengthy proceedings were brought to a swift conclusion.

Looking for criminal law advice?

We’re used to advising directors and their organisations on criminal law cases – including (but not limited to) fraud and misconduct in public office.

If you’re in the public sector, you can easily access our legal services through the National Procurement Service framework – not just for litigation, but also for public and administrative law, corporate governance and ethical standards, education law, and real estate law.

Or if you prefer, you can just get in touch with us directly at c.williams@capitallaw.co.uk