KPMG: Value of major fraud cases in Scotland more than tripled in 2019
The value of major fraud cases going through the Scottish courts increased by £11 million, according to the latest data from KPMG’s Fraud Barometer, which analyses alleged fraud worth more than £100,000.
Cases, valued at more than £15.6m (£15,669,670), were heard in courtrooms across the country in 2019, up from cases worth more than £4.5m (£4,555,019) in 2018.
The cases have included investment fraud, procurement fraud, embezzlement, VAT fraud, mortgage fraud and benefit fraud.
One case involved Alistair Greig, 65, who offered investors (mainly in the Aberdeen area) through his business, Midas Financial Solutions (Scotland) Limited, high-interest accounts with the Royal Bank of Scotland (which did not exist), promising them that the returns on their capital and interest payments were guaranteed. He is alleged to have obtained a total of £12.98million or thereabouts from investors under false pretences and a significant proportion of this money was transferred out of the UK.
Another case involved Paul Galbraith, who stole more than half a million pounds from his employer, Oil States Industries, in West Lothian.
The project manager was jailed after it emerged he had submitted invoices from a non-existent company for work that hadn’t been done enabling him to spend thousands of pounds at a private members club in Glasgow, on designer clothes, holidays to Dubai and Australia and on a property. He made the fraudulent payments into his mother’s bank account.
A further case involved credit union boss Anne Costello, who was jailed for two years after stealing more than £180,000 by forging friends’ signatures.
The 67-year-old used her senior position at the Cumbernauld South Credit Union to make false applications for loans over an 18 year period, after she personally fell into debt.
Annette Barker, KPMG’s head of Forensic Regions, said: “There has been a significant increase in the value of fraud cases in the Scottish Courts this year, which correlates with the overall UK picture, where fraud is rising across the board.
“What remains a concern is the number of fraud cases involving personal connections – from employees to advisors and family members. Large frauds are often allowed to occur because people accept what they are told at face value by people they trust. You wouldn’t give someone access to your bank account without checking the balance regularly rather than asking them is my bank balance okay.”