Fraud in Scotland rises 60% on last year

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The levels of fraud committed in Scotland during the first six months of this year have risen by more than 60% compared with the same period in 2012, according to a new report.

An increase of 61% has been recorded by KPMG’s Fraud Barometer, and it reveals that the majority was due to embezzlement and tax fraud.

One of the main cases was a former solicitor accused of embezzling £570,000 from clients in Arbroath, Angus, between 2001 and 2006, while in a separate case a bank worker in Dunfermline, Fife, was alleged to have defrauded customers of £415,000.

The courts in Scotland have dealt with five cases of high-value fraud - fraud greater than £100,000 - in the first six months of this year. While this is the same number of cases than in the same period in 2012, the total value has risen from £1,160,252 in 2012 to £1,868,548 this year.

Ken Milliken, from KPMG in Scotland, said: “Con artists remain the order of the day, with several high profile cases highlighting that employees are still quite happy to risk all to increase their bank balances.

Huge cost

“This trend is at odds with what we are seeing across the UK where professional criminals are having a major impact on increasing levels of fraud.”

Across the UK, the value of fraud cases in the first half of 2013 was more than £0.5 billion - which signals more than a 25% increase on last year, according to the report.

Hitesh Patel, from UK KPMG, said: “What is clear from this year’s report is that fraud is on the up and remains a huge cost to Government and the private sector. It is a welcome development to see that the Government continues its fight against white-collar crime.

“A very severe punishment regime is being proposed in the sentencing guidelines consultation paper issued recently to tackle the growing scourge of white-collar crime and the acknowledgement that the real cost of fraud is more than just financial.”

The data from the first six months of 2013 shows that in the UK, 86% of frauds were committed by men and 95% were committed by people over the age of 35.