Fraud, Data Theft and Cybercrime

Fraud Experience

Members of our team have the following experience:

Civil Fraud

  • Advising various businesses (including a finance house and a law firm) on responding to phishing scams including advice on steps to block the recipient bank accounts, to obtain Norwich Pharmacal disclosure orders, and to make the necessary regulatory and criminal reports.
  • Advising a major retailer on claims against a senior employee for systematic and sustained misuse of a company credit card for personal gain (resulting in losses to the business of several hundred thousand pounds).
  • Advising a major UK investment manager on three separate claims against former employees for breach of confidence and contract arising out of a misappropriation of confidential proprietary trading software and databases (two of which settled; judgment was obtained on the third). Two claims involved the obtaining and service of search & seizure and gagging orders and the parallel engagement of forensic experts to identify and analyse the recovered data. One employee breached the terms of the search and gagging provisions and separate contempt proceedings were brought on behalf of the investment manager. These were successful and the employee was handed a suspended three month custodial sentence.
  • Recovering a multi-million pound sum which had been lost as a result of what the Daily Mail called 'Britain's largest education fraud'. The claim involved obtaining freezing orders alongside and organizing police assistance and the arrest of the fraudster at the same time he was notified of civil action. It was also necessary to trace assets into various jurisdictions (including Nigeria and the Caribbean) and into the hands of a number of third parties, to advise on reputational concerns and to deal with regulatory reporting requirements. After we had recovered all of the money still available (including a public sector pension fund), assistance to the Police was provided which resulted in a criminal conviction and 9-year custodial sentence.
  • Recovering the full amount misappropriated from a major national infrastructure company as a result of a fraud committed by a contractor with an accomplice working within the business. After obtaining a freezing order and securing the assistance of the Police, the fraudsters agreed to repay all of the money identified without the protection of confidentiality provisions.
  • Advising an AIM-listed investment vehicle in respect of its claims against various shareholders, former directors and their associates arising out of the discovery that its reported assets of +US$600m were entirely fictitious. The proceedings were supported by parallel freezing injunctions obtained in England and Singapore and by criminal proceedings brought in Switzerland. The trial in the Chancery Division against four of the defendants lasted for 56 days during which evidence was given by over 25 witnesses. Those claims were settled prior to the conclusion of the hearing on terms pursuant to which we recovered in excess of £30 million (representing almost all of the assets of those defendants). The remaining defendants did not attend trial and judgment was entered against them in the sum of over £40 million. They also breached the terms of the English freezing injunctions and separate contempt proceedings were brought. Those proceedings were successful and resulted in two individuals being handed custodial sentences in their absence of 6 and 12 months respectively.
  • Advising the factoring and discounting arms of a major retail bank in connection with various claims against directors of clients arising out of frauds based on “fresh-air invoicing” and “pre-invoicing”. The claims included actions for deceit and dishonest assistance and several have been supported by worldwide freezing injunctions and by the instigation of subsequent bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Advising the liquidators of a telecommunications companies in relation to proceedings brought against the sole director and shareholder for alleged fraudulent trading, wrongful trading and breach of fiduciary duty arising from a telecommunications fraud. The liquidators were successful in obtaining a worldwide freezing injunction, a search & seizure order (enforced in residential and commercial premises) and a passport delivery up order against the director. This was followed by successful applications for a section 236 examination, summary judgment and for committal for contempt of court. The latter application gave rise to (i) a Court of Appeal ruling on the use of hearsay evidence in contempt proceedings and (ii) a twelve month in absentia custodial sentence being awarded against the defendant.

Criminal Fraud & White Collar Crime

  • Defending Ultra High Net Worth individual from the United Arab Emirates (>5 billion USD) with property interests throughout the United Kingdom and Europe charged with £2 million cheque fraud in a private prosecution at Southwark Crown Court.
  • Defended German national and business owner prosecuted for alleged failures to declare transfers of 'property' to his new wife still living in Germany when filing his petition for bankruptcy in October 2014. The case was heard at Portsmouth Magistrates Court. The 'property' in question was a right to claim for compensation from his children after the client renounced his entitlement to inherit from his late father's estate. It was contended that the 'right' referred to by the Insolvency Service was no longer 'property' within the meaning of the Insolvency Act 1995 because the time limit to make the claim in the German courts had passed. This case centred on the correct interpretation of German inheritance law! The Insolvency Service was persuaded that no property had in fact been transferred in the relevant period and dropped the case.
  • Defending individual under investigation by DEFRA following a complaint made to them by the Rural Payments Agency. It is alleged that L made false representations to clients who then submitted claims for funding for building and expansion projects to the Rural Payments Agency.
  • Advising a regulated financial advisory firm on responding to a notice issued by the Police (pursuant to Section 2 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984) for the disclosure of information relating to the alleged misappropriation and/or misapplication of client funds by an individual IFA.

Regulatory Investigations

  • Advising a UK-based investment advisory and asset management firm on regulatory and compliance issues arising out of the fact that its ultimate beneficial owner and main investor had been convicted of serious criminal offences by the Supreme Court in Kuwait.

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