LEGAL & FINANCE: Fraud Bill Is a Mess, Says Ernst & Young

The Birmingham Post (England), June 10, 2005 | Go to article overview
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LEGAL & FINANCE: Fraud Bill Is a Mess, Says Ernst & Young


The new Fraud Bill is a mess, it has been claimed.

The Bill, which aims to clarify the offence of fraud and simplify the prosecution process will, say accountants Ernst & Young, fail to protect businesses.

Introduced on May 26, it addresses criticisms of the Government's reform advisors, the Law Commission.

Their report found that the current laws covering fraud are too specific, overlap with each other, and contain loopholes. The proposed new single offence of fraud will carry a maximum sentence of ten years in jail.

Commenting on the new Bill, Jonathan Middup, head of the forensic investigation team at Ernst & Young's Birmingham office, said: 'The changes to the Bill include measures designed to tackle the growing problem of internet fraud - particularly phishing scams.

'Many of us will have been targeted by fraudsters claiming to be legitimate financial institutions, mirroring bank web sites to gain confidential customer details. Under the new proposals, the criminal will be committing fraud by false representation and can be prosecuted by simply showing intent to defraud.'

Mr Middup said that although the Bill may increase protection from external fraud, it fails to help companies protect themselves from internal fraudsters, which is the biggest threat to businesses across the region.

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