What is Corporate Crime?
Corporate Crime is criminal activity carried out during the course of a person’s work or employment and may be carried out by an individual or a company/organisation. Although it has always existed, corporate crime has become more prevalent in the past few years with new technology making it easier for criminal activity to prevail.
Types of Corporate Crime
There are many types of corporate crime, for example:
- Fraud, Conspiracy to Defraud
- Money Laundering
- Economic/Financial Crime
- Price Fixing
- False Accounting
- Insider Trading
- Patent Infringements/Abuse
- Intellectual Property, including Copyright
- Tax evasion, fraudulent evasion of duty or VAT
The mens rea i.e., state of mind/intention of an organisation will need to be established which is determined by looking at its actions and omissions as a company and the acts/omissions of its directors, members, shareholders and employees.
Fraud, Bribery & Money Laundering
These offences are dealt with by the UK Courts in a similar way. The Court needs to consider making a compensation order for loss/damage or personal injury incurred as a result of the offending organisation’s actions or omissions. The Court must consider the means of the offending company and may make a confiscation order if it thinks appropriate. For each offence the Court will decide the culpability as to what role and motivation the company had in committing the offence, which could be a high, medium or lesser culpability. It will also calculate the harm incurred represented by a financial sum.
Corporate Fraud is any fraud committed against a business. Offences under the Fraud Act 2006 include:
- Fraud by false representation;
- Fraud by failure to disclose information when there is a legal duty to do so; and
- Fraud by abuse of
Under each offence the defendant must have acted dishonestly and intended to do so.
Bribery is governed by the Bribery Act 2010 and includes:
- Offences of bribing another person;
- Offences relating to being bribed;
- Bribery of foreign public officials; and
- Failure of commercial organisations to prevent
The maximum penalty, depending on which offence is committed is imprisonment of up to ten years and/or a fine.
We can help you understand and operate within the UK Bribery Act 2010 and efficiently manage complex investigative work, criminal proceedings and implement practical compliance enhancements.
In the UK Money Laundering is governed by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Terrorism Act 2000, the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds 2017 and the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
The Financial Services Authority and Her Majesty’s Revenues & Customs (HMRC) regulate and investigate money laundering offences. Where a UK organisation and a foreign organisation are involved, it is investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.
The Money Laundering Regulations regulates businesses such as accountants, financial service businesses, estate agents and solicitors who must comply with many rules and regulations relating to how they handle their own and their client’s money.
We are able to provide a forensic analysis service to assist in tracing assets/monies through bank accounts of individuals, companies and trusts in cases involving bribery, corruption and money laundering.
We have developed high-level skills in tracing criminal proceeds, using different methodologies through multi-jurisdictional entities including individual, corporate and trust bank accounts.
False accounting is an offence under Section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 as follows:
‘Where a person dishonestly, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, —
- destroys, defaces, conceals or falsifies any account or any record or document made or required for any accounting purpose; or
- in furnishing information for any purpose produces or makes use of any account, or any such record or document as aforesaid, which to his knowledge is or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material
he shall, on conviction on indictment, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years.
…For purposes of this section a person who makes or concurs in making in an account or other document an entry which is or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material, or who omits or concurs in omitting a material particular from an account or other document, is to be treated as falsifying the account or document.’
False accounting committed by a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, shall be guilty of that offence and can also be liable for prosecution.
Members/shareholders who commit such offences will be treated as if they are a director.
Tax Evasion includes unpaid taxes and/or unpaid VAT to HMRC. Since the Criminal Finances Act 2017 was introduced, this also includes failure to put procedures in place to stop the facilitation of tax evasion by any associates.
How does a company protect itself from committing corporate crime?
Companies and organisations must have stringent policies in place to protect against committing corporate crime and to prevent others committing those crimes against them.
Company board directors, members and shareholders have a responsibility to act honestly and transparently in their respective positions. Understanding and dealing with the matrix of laws and regulations can be daunting. It is therefore important to get reliable, professional advice to understand these requirements, and to ensure that rules and policies are in place and followed accordingly.
Our team of solicitors and barristers advise companies, directors, senior managers, professionals, and private individuals. We have considerable experience in all areas of corporate and business crime and can provide representation from interviews under caution to expert representation at the Crown Court.
If a regulator has implemented an investigation into your business, we’ll guide you through it. Our experienced team will help you manage the process and avoid the pitfalls.