By: 16 January 2019
Yorkshire and Northeast fraud cases double, finds KPMG

The number of fraud cases reaching courts in Yorkshire and the Northeast doubled last year, according to KPMG.

The firm’s Fraud Barometer, which records cases of alleged fraud with a value of more than £100,000, found that the number of cases reaching courts in Yorkshire and the Northeast in 2018 rose to 54 from 21 in 2017.

Similarly, over the same period, the value of fraud cases rose from £32.7 million to £62.8 million.

Nationwide, the number of fraud cases reaching UK courts rose by 78% last year. KPMG found that 453 cases with a total value of £1.2 billion came to court across the UK last year.

During 2018, evasion of duties and account takeover or payment transfer fraud were the most common offences. Meanwhile, investment fraud took the largest share of the total value of fraud, accounting for £26.3 million, according to KPMG.

Sara Smith, forensic director at KPMG, said: “There has been an incredibly diverse range of fraud activity hitting local courts over the past year, covering nearly 20 different types of offence—from cigarette smuggling to investment scams. The common thread between them is that fraud can have a significant impact on people’s lives, take much needed funds from tax revenues and put an enormous strain on businesses.”

“As cases get more complex and daring, but also become more frequent, private and public sector organisations and individuals in the region need to take proactive steps to protect themselves.”

Notable cases in the Northeast and Yorkshire include:

  • Sheffield Crown Court has demanded that two fraudsters from Halifax repay approximately £750,000 to victims of a sophisticated fraud that involved selling stolen goods online
  • A property developer in Bradford will have to pay more than half a million pounds back to victims or face prison after being found guilty of using funds from investors to pay for his own luxury lifestyle
  • A man in Hull was jailed for five years for his part in a major cigarette smuggling operation, which defrauded the UK taxpayer of more than £670,000
  • A businessman from Leeds was jailed for nine years after being caught in a sophisticated £10m VAT fraud case that fuelled a glamorous lifestyle in Marbella
  • A gang of tobacco smugglers from the Northeast was jailed after an HM Revenue & Customs investigation into duty evasion on 12 million cigarettes, worth £3.6 million in unpaid duty and VAT
  • A charity boss was jailed by Newcastle Crown Court after diverting more than £700,000 of the charity’s cash to his own bank account
  • Fraudsters were jailed in Newcastle after scamming a college and training charity out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by creating fictitious clients and then charging the college fees for providing them with training