Police F Ight Huge Surge in Middle Class Fraud; Lawyers, Accountants and Brokers Fuel [Pounds Sterling]20bn Rip-Off
Byline: Stephen Wright Crime Editor
BRITAIN is in the grip of a middleclass fraud boom, a top police officer warned yesterday.
Mike Bowron said his officers were arresting lawyers, accountants and insurance brokers over alleged rip-offs worth millions.
Mr Bowron, commissioner of City of London Police, said professional workers had 'exploited their position for personal and illegitimate financial gain'.
He also revealed that the number of frauds reported to his force has risen by 72 per cent in the past financial year.
In many cases, the victims were 'welleducated, confident investors' who are ripped off by plausible graduates taking part in sophisticated scams.
Mr Bowron said many frauds had been exposed by the recession, as investors tried to get their money back.
One of the biggest investigations on his force's books is an [pounds sterling]80million Ponzi-style investment fraud which is now thought to have claimed 750 victims, including former England cricketer and Strictly Come Dancing star Darren Gough.
Another high-profile probe centres on an alleged [pounds sterling]200million mortgage fraud.
In 2005, the value of reported frauds was put at nearly [pounds sterling]14billion by independent academics.
But Mr Bowron said the true value of losses in the UK is now likely to be around [pounds sterling]20billion, enough to fund two London Olympics. Mr Bowron, whose force has national responsibility for investigating economic crime, will outline the scale of the problem tomorrow at the National Fraud Forum conference in Buckinghamshire.
He said last night: 'We have got something like 6,000 individual victims on our books at the moment. …