Now that we’re all embedded into a new decade, January has finally come to an end and spring is hopefully just around the corner.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look back, and take stock if you like of the top 10 frauds that occurred between 2010-2019, to see if we’ve learnt anything from them.
In Part 2 of this feature we’ll look at the top five frauds. Missed out on Part 1, take a look here.
Organised gang take baggage limit seriously
2019 also saw the arrest of ten people suspected to part of an organised crime gang, who allegedly smuggled £15.5m out of the UK to Dubai via suitcases – they may have misinterpreted 23kg of weight into 23k of money?
The suspects in this case were also wanted for human trafficking.
Suspicion was aroused when the suspects seemed to be living beyond their means, and when the police, along with the National Crime Agency, raided their respective properties they seized luxury cars, drugs and cash.
As with the case of Stephen Burton, mentioned in last week’s lists. Detectives followed the money and discovered the lavish lifestyles of these criminals, documenting their unusual travel patterns which ended up becoming their downfall.
McGill – largest benefit fraud in the UK
Ethel McGill from Cheshire, was sentenced to six years imprisonment after it was discovered that she had committed benefit fraud.
Ms McGill’s claimed that her father Robert Dennison was alive, enabling her to claim is war pension and other benefits. She continued these claims long after his death in 2004.
Her deception even sunk to the depths of asking a friend to ‘lie under a blanket and pretend’ to be Mr Dennison so she wouldn’t be found out.
As well as claiming benefits for her deceased father, Ms McGill also faked disability and dementia for over 20 years.
She was eventually caught out by the Department for Work and Pensions who acquired video footage of her driving and moving around, despite claims she needed a wheelchair to remain mobile.
This is a good example of how conducting due diligence and keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, can prevent instances like this occurring. If you do suspect anything suspicious report it to the relevant authority or regulator.
Rogue employees at Bank of Scotland
Between 2003 – 2007, rogue employees at the Bank of Scotland’s (HBOS) Reading Bracnh worked with a group of consultants to defraud the bank and small businesses of approximately £245million. Which resulted in people hitting dire financial straits.
As a result of this fraudulent activity, HBOS were fined £45.5m by the Financial Conduct Authority for failing to disclose information about the scandal.
When it comes to consultancies, it’s always beneficial to do your research. Organisations should seek independent legal advice when it comes to these matters.
Suitcases brimming with cash
In 2019, Border Force officials caught Mohammed Imran Khan Sathar Khan, 36, attempting to smuggle £1.5million onto a flight bound for Dubai. Each of the four cases weighed 20kg, which raised the suspicions of the guards.
Sathar Khan was jailed for three years and nine months at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA), who charged Sather Khan with two money laundering offences, found he had made several trips to Dubai before being caught.
It is vital that the authorities remain vigilant, when it comes to this sort of crime. Investigating any instances which seem suspicious is a good way to ensure you remain ahead of the game.
Commonwealth Bank breach results in £400m fine
In 2018, Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s largest lender, agreed to pay a £400million fine – the largest ever civil fine in Australian Corporate history) for breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing legislation.
The bank failed to report 53,000 suspicious transactions to the relevant authorities. According to Commonwealth Bank this was caused by a coding error which meant their machines were not able to automatically report the transactions.
Organisations in the financial sector should carry out regular checks to ensure their software is in good working order, and actively seek expertise on complying with anti-money laundering and fraud legislation.
As with the Standard Charter Bank scandal, it’s important for businesses to ensure their AML regulations are water-tight.
Time may pass, but fraudsters will still continue to try their luck and make as much quick and easy money as possible.
It’s down to us to conduct due diligence and acting on any warning flags we receive.