Cost of large Scottish fraud cases ‘falls sharply’

KPMGNew research from accountants KPMG has revealed that the amount of money lost in high-value fraud cases in Scotland has fallen sharply during the first half of 2015.

The first six months of this year saw the total value of fraud north of the border hit £3.8m, compared with £6.2m for the same period last year.

In total, Scottish courts dealt with nine cases of high-value fraud, one more than the first half of 2014.

KPMG’s “fraud barometer” covers major court cases involving sums of more than £100,000.

Among the cases recorded so far in 2015 was a financial adviser from Glasgow found guilty of stealing almost £500,000 from an elderly couple, and an assistant manager of a tax advisory firm who embezzled more than £726,000 from trusts set up to help charities.

Despite the fall in total value, KPMG noted a significant rise in fraud committed by employees on their customers and employers - increasing from £940,000 in 2014 to more than £3.3m this year.

This contrasted with a sharp decline in cases brought to court where a customer had defrauded a business - down from four in the first six months of 2014, to zero in 2015.

Ken Milliken, head of forensic for KPMG in Scotland, said: “While the value of fraud across the UK is on the up, the picture in Scotland tells a more positive story.

“Measures in place to protect businesses from external fraud from customers appear to be working, with no cases of that type being heard in Scottish courts during the last six months.

“Furthermore, the value of fraud cases in Scotland saw a marked reduction during that period, with just one case being heard over the £1m mark.

“However, there must be corresponding checks and balances in place to prevent employees from within businesses exploiting their own customers and employers.

“This is reflected by the cases coming to court in Scotland in 2015, whereby significant levels of fraud have been committed by staff in trusted positions either swindling their customers or embezzling money from the firms they work for.”

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