Study Reveals Increase in Fraud; RESEARCH: Economic Uncertainty Blamed for Rise
Byline: JAMES PRITCHARD
THE current climate of economic uncertainty has fuelled an increase in fraud, according to accountancy firm KPMG.
Its latest fraud barometer study KPMG Forensic shows that Wales has experienced a sharp rise in offences over the past six months.
The research, which is based upon analysis of major fraud cases reaching the Crown Court in the UK, found there had been a four-fold increase in the value of cases in Wales and south west England.
Despite a fall in the number of convictions from eight to five, the first six months of 2002 saw the value of fraud cases dealt with rise from pounds 4.5m to pounds 18.6m.
Among the cases seen in Wales over the period was that of a subpostmaster who carried out a pounds 110,000 fraud by making bogus pension allowance claims and a student grant scam which cost local taxpayers almost pounds 250,000.
Paul Tombleson, a director at KPMG Forensic, said he was in no doubt that a worsening economic situation was increasing the temptation of individuals to engage in fraudulent activity.
``This half-year, our figures have shown a huge rise in the total value of fraud, especially in Wales and the south west region,'' he said.
``We anticipate that this will continue over the coming year or two, as cases that we expect to emerge as a result of the current tough economic trading conditions come to court.''
Across the UK, the total value of fraud cases for the six months to June 30 increased to pounds 255m compared to the pounds 111m seen during the previous six months.
So great has been the increase that the value of fraud cases for the first six months of 2002 is already greater than the total value of fraud cases re-ported for the whole of 2001 where there were cases amounting to pounds 224m. …