Stop fraud spreading – John Binns speaks to Financial Accountant

Stop fraud spreading – John Binns speaks to Financial Accountant

BCL partner John Binns has been quoted in Financial Accountant’s article ‘Stop fraud spreading’ discussing increased fraud risks during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s an extract from the article:

The economy may be stalling as a result of the pandemic but it’s a buoyant time for criminals as they look to exploit the crisis for financial gain. For accountants and their clients, the pandemic serves as a reminder of the need to be ever vigilant in the face of growing fraud risk.

According to the most recent Financial Cost of Fraud report published by accountancy firm Crowe alongside Portsmouth University’s Centre for Counter Fraud Studies, conservative estimates indicate that UK fraud losses alone equate to £130bn each year.

Most frauds occur, not necessarily as a result of the criminal genius of the perpetrators but due to a lack of diligence by business owners. In some ways, the challenge with ‘spotting the signs’ is that the usual risk factors – distressed businesses, time pressures, sparse information, difficulties communicating with clients – are now so commonplace, you may find yourself seeing fraud wherever you look, says John Binns, partner at BCL Solicitors.

“At the risk of sounding glib, the best advice has to be to ’stay alert’ to the possibility of fraud, and spend the extra time and effort that may be needed to rule it out or allay suspicions,” Binns says. “That may seem like an unwelcome burden at the moment, but it’s preferable to being drawn into nefarious conduct and the potential for criminal enquiries.” 

Where tax evasion is involved, businesses need to be especially alert to the risk that their personnel are facilitating it, because of the corporate offences under the Criminal Finances Act. “If you do not yet have procedures to prevent such conduct, it’s high time to create them; if you do, they may need to be reviewed,” Binns urges.

 

This article was originally published by Financial Accountant on 31/07/2020. You can read the full version on their website.

John Binns is a partner at BCL specialising in all aspects of business crime, with a particular interest in confiscation, civil recovery and money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”). His business crime experience includes representing suspects, defendants and witnesses in cases invoking allegations of bribery and corruption, fraud (including carbon credits, carousel/MTIC, land-banking, Ponzi and pyramid scheme frauds), insider trading, market abuse, price-fixing, sanctions-busting, and tax evasion. He has coordinated and undertaken corporate investigations and defended in cases brought by BEIS, the FCA, HMRC, NCA, OFT, SFO and others.