Serious Fraud Doubles To £1.5 Billion

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Fraudsters managed to dupe their victims out of almost £1.5 billion in 2015, according to financial experts.

The amount is more than double the tally for 2014, and the largest amount since reported since 2011.

But the number of victims dropped by 5.2% to 519 cases of fraud worth more than £50,000.

The average value of an offence rocketed 120% to £2.9 million, while some cases exceeded £250 million.

The figures come from the annual FraudTrack Report, published by financial firm BDO.

Booking.com

Financial services fraud, which includes pension liberation deception and bogus investments, increased by 138% to £567 million.

Third of scams against individuals

The report also revealed non-corporate fraud comprises almost a third of all offences – a total of 152 cases in 2015.

The UK regions reporting the highest increases in fraud offences were the Midlands, up 1050%; the North East, up 626% and Yorkshire, up 321%.

The figures were driven up by a £9 million con by former Premier League soccer player Richard Rufus, a horse racing scandal in the City which saw friends lose £1.8 million to a banking colleague and a currency trader who made off with client cash worth £130 million.

The report also tried unsuccessfully to profile the typical fraudster.

“Our conclusion after many years of investigating high-level fraud is that there are no common characteristics to identify fraudsters,” said a BDO spokesman.

Greed is the driving force

“Offenders range from chief executives to the lowliest employees and the only factor we can attribute to them is the reason for their crimes and this often does not materialise until after they have been caught.”

Greed was the biggest driving force for many fraudsters, followed by gambling addiction and debt.

“Greed is by far the thing many fraudsters have in common. If they have a large house, they want a bigger one, if they have a fast car they want a faster one and if they have a 70-foot yacht they want a 100 foot one,” said the spokesman.

“Fraudsters have a massive capacity for greed that should not be underestimated. The smallest crime turns into a serious fraud because the offender just wants more and more once they find they can get away with it.”

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