Conspiracy to Defraud

Conspiracy to defraud is an extremely serious crime. With a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, defending against this offence can be complex and challenging.

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    Conspiracy to Defraud

    Conspiracy to defraud is an extremely serious crime. With a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, defending against this offence can be complex and challenging.

    If you are accused of conspiracy to defraud, our experienced team can help you build a robust defence, represent you during interviews and court proceedings, and negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf.

    Contact us today for an initial consultation by completing the enquiry form or calling us on 020 7467 3980.

    What is conspiracy to defraud?

    Conspiracy to defraud involves an agreement between two or more individuals to dishonestly deprive someone of their property rights or to cause them financial loss.

    Conspiracy to defraud is a common law offence – meaning it does not fall under a specific piece of legislation. Instead, the courts have created the offence through judicial decisions over time.

    For conspiracy to defraud to occur, the following must happen:

    • Agreement: At least two people must agree to commit the fraudulent act. The offence is committed when the conspirators agree to the plan, regardless of whether or not they carry it out.
    • Intent to act dishonestly: The individuals involved must intend to act dishonestly. This means they must know that reasonable and honest people would regard their actions as deceitful.
    • Intent to defraud: The conspirators must have the intention to deceive or defraud another party out of a valuable loss.
    With conspiracy to defraud, the criminal act involves agreeing and planning the crime rather than committing it.

    Do you require advice from conspiracy to defraud solicitors?

    Those accused of conspiracy to defraud can find the process stressful and distressing. Police, investigators and prosecutors take such allegations very seriously and the scrutiny can be intense.

    Appointing a specialist conspiracy to defraud solicitor can help mitigate the impact during the investigative stage and may even result in your case being dismissed before it gets to court.

    Defending against a charge of conspiracy to defraud requires a thorough understanding of the law and the ability to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. Our skilled defence team will help you navigate the legal process to achieve the best possible outcome.

    Here are just some of the benefits of appointing a conspiracy to defraud solicitor:

    Unrivalled expertise to protect your interests
    Conspiracy to defraud solicitors possess in-depth knowledge of the law, including precedents and nuances that can be crucial to mounting a solid defence.

    At Summit Law, we have many years’ experience handling similar cases and can anticipate the prosecution’s strategies, ensuring you are well-prepared.

    Understanding of potential legal defences
    Conspiracy to defraud solicitors will identify and develop legal defences, such as lack of intent, absence of an agreement, or lack of knowledge about the fraudulent nature of the actions.

    Our specialist defence team will thoroughly analyse the evidence and circumstances surrounding your case to identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments.

    Expert representation and support
    If you are required to attend police interviews or other investigatory meetings, we will be there to advise you and protect your rights. If your case gets to court, we will present your defence effectively and persuasively to the judge and jury.

    Where a conviction is likely, our skilled conspiracy to defraud solicitors will negotiate with the prosecution for reduced charges or more lenient sentencing options. We will present strong mitigation pleas to minimise penalties.

    Types of conspiracy to commit fraud

    There are two types of conspiracy to defraud – economic and non-economic loss.

    • Economic loss: When two or more people agree to deprive someone else of something they own or are entitled to.
    • Non-economic loss: When two or more people agree to deceive someone into doing something that goes against the duty they owe to their clients or employers.

    In either case, as long as the collaborators agree to the fraudulent action, conspiracy to defraud has occurred – regardless of whether or not the crime is carried out.

    The following are examples of conspiracy to defraud:

    • A group of individuals conspire to create fake documents to obtain loans or mortgages
    • A group of people set up a ‘ponzi’ investment scheme that promises unattainable high returns
    • Two or more people collaborate to stage a fake accident to collect money from an insurance company
    • Businesses collude to fix prices or rig bids to defraud consumers or competitors
    • Employees agree to work together to embezzle funds from their employer

    Someone rents an office space as part of a plan to defraud someone
    Individuals might set up a fake charity to solicit donations from the public.

    How to prove conspiracy to defraud

    Proving conspiracy to defraud requires establishing evidence of an agreement, the intent to act dishonestly, and the intent to defraud. As such, investigations are typically complex and exhaustive.

    To prove conspiracy to defraud, prosecutors will examine the following:

    • Communication records: Conspiracy to defraud can be proven through emails, text messages, and recorded conversations.
    • Financial records: Bank statements, transaction records, and financial documents to trace the flow of money may also establish a link between the conspirators and the fraudulent activity.
    • Surveillance and monitoring: Prosecutors may also use available surveillance footage, photographs, and recordings that show meetings or interactions between the conspirators.
    • Witness statements: Prosecutors may obtain statements from witnesses who can testify about the interactions, agreements, and dishonest intentions of the accused.
    • Forensic evidence: Conspiracy to defraud evidence commonly involves the forensic analysis of digital devices, documents, and other physical evidence.

    Some conspiracy to defraud cases involve multiple jurisdictions and investigators will work with foreign law enforcement and other authorities to get the necessary evidence.

    Financial experts, forensic accountants, and other specialists may also be brought in to help with the investigation. Where enough evidence is found, legal action is highly likely.

    How to defend against conspiracy to defraud

    Mounting a robust defence is essential if you are accused of conspiracy to defraud. If you are facing such allegations, our expert conspiracy to defraud lawyers will defend and protect your interests.

    Possible defences against conspiracy to defraud include:

    • Lack of agreement: We can argue that there was no agreement between you and the other accused party/parties to commit fraud.
    • Lack of dishonesty: We can help prove that you did not intend to act dishonestly or that your actions were not considered dishonest by reasonable standards.
    • Mistake of fact: We can demonstrate that any actions by yourself were due to a genuine mistake about the facts of the situation and that there was no intention to deceive or cause financial loss to another party.
    • Duress: We can show that you were forced to participate in the fraud against your will.
    • Withdrawal: We can help you prove that you withdrew from the conspiracy before the fraud was committed.
    Throughout the process, we will seek to challenge the credibility, accuracy, and sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution. We will also ensure any evidence gathered is legally permissible and has been collected using the proper processes.

    Conspiracy to defraud sentencing guidelines

    Conspiracy to defraud is a serious offence, and the potential penalties reflect this. If you are charged with conspiracy to defraud, your case will be heard at the Crown Court, and if found guilty and convicted, you could face: 

    • An unlimited fine 
    • A maximum of ten years imprisonment (for the most serious cases) 
    • An ancillary order (additional restrictions or requirements as decided by the court. Amongst other things, this might include paying compensation or reparations and/or disqualification from being a company director) 
    • A community order (an alternative to imprisonment)

    Conspiracy to defraud prison sentence

    When deciding on the sentence, the judge will look at a range of factors, including the scale and sophistication of the fraud, your specific role (your level of culpability), and any mitigating factors.

    A skilled fraud solicitor will work to avoid a prison sentence altogether or at least get the length of the term reduced where the evidence makes a stint in prison unavoidable.

    An early guilty plea for adult offenders may reduce the prison sentence by up to one-third. The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction is likely to be. However, legal advice is essential before any plea is made.

    What is a mitigating factor?

    Your conspiracy to defraud solicitor will identify and present all possible mitigating factors to the court in an attempt to reduce your sentence in the event of a guilty verdict. This might include: 

    • Your good character and reputation 
    • Your previously clean criminal record
    • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
    • Your regret following the fraudulent behaviour
    • How you and your dependants would be harmed by a lengthy prison sentence
    • Any circumstances which may have led you to commit the offence
    • Any mental or physical illnesses that contributed to your actions
    • And more.

    Conspiracy to defraud common law UK

    In England and Wales, there are two types of conspiracy laws: common law and statutory law.

    • Common law: Not based on written law but on historic court decisions
    • Statutory law: Written laws that have been passed by Parliament 

    Conspiracy to defraud is a common law offence.

    When the Fraud Act 2006 was introduced in 2007, prosecutors were given more ways to fight fraud. As well as strengthen historic statutory legislation, the Act created the following additional offences: 

    • Fraud by false representation. When an individual or business deliberately lies or misrepresents the truth to make a financial gain for themselves and/or cause a loss to another party.
    • Fraud by failing to disclose information. When an individual or business fails to disclose information while under a legal duty to, where the failure is done dishonestly, and where the failure is done to make a gain or cause a loss.
    • Fraud by abuse of position. When an individual uses the position of trust, they have been placed in to commit fraud by gaining financially from that position.

    When the Fraud Act was being formed, The Law Commission suggested abolishing the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud, arguing it was too vague and potentially unfair. However, the government decided to keep the offence.

    Contact our conspiracy to defraud lawyers

    If you are facing conspiracy to defraud allegations, charges or investigation, you must seek advice as soon as possible. Our expert conspiracy to defraud solicitors will ensure you mount the strongest possible defence. 

    We can help you if: 

    • You have received notification that you are under investigation for fraud
    • You have been the subject of a raid
    • You have received a restraint, production or freezing order
    • You have been invited to attend a police interview under caution 
    • You are facing a criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud

    With all the expertise and skill needed to handle complex fraud allegations, we ensure the very highest standards of care and counsel.

    Call us today on 020 7467 3980 or complete the website enquiry form, and one of our conspiracy to defraud lawyers will be in touch to find out more about how we can help you. 

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