For those who believe that they have been the victim of fraud, the priority is usually to reclaim the money that they have lost as quickly as possible. When fraud is discovered or suspected the first steps that you take are critical. It is therefore vital to seek professional advice at the outset so as to avoid any unnecessary delays in proceedings.
What are some examples of Civil Fraud?
Civil fraud encompasses a wide range of deceptive practices and wrongful conduct. Here are some examples of civil fraud:
Misrepresentation or Fraudulent Misrepresentation:
- A company knowingly provides false information about its financial health to attract investors.
- A seller conceals defects in a property when selling it, leading to financial losses for the buyer.
Abuse of Position:
- An executive misuses funds from the company for personal use.
- A trustee misappropriates assets from a trust for personal gain.
- A professional adviser knowingly assists a client in committing financial fraud.
- An accountant aids a company in manipulating financial statements.
Unlawful Means Conspiracy:
- Multiple parties conspire to use illegal means to harm a competitor’s business.
- A group of individuals collaborates to defraud investors through a complex scheme.
Breach of Trust/Contract/Fiduciary Duty:
- A trustee fails to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries.
- An employee breaches a fiduciary duty by diverting business opportunities to a competing company.
Fraudulent Trading under the Companies Act 2006:
- Company directors engage in transactions with the intent to defraud creditors.
- A business continues trading while insolvent, concealing its financial difficulties.
Market Abuse under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000:
- Insider trading, where individuals trade securities based on non-public, material information.
- Spreading false information to manipulate stock prices for personal gain.
Offences under the Bribery Act 2010:
- A company bribes foreign officials to secure a contract.
- An employee accepts a bribe to provide confidential information to a competitor.
Restraint and Confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002:
- Confiscation of assets acquired through criminal activity, such as fraud or money laundering.
- Legal actions to restrain the use or disposal of assets believed to be the proceeds of crime.
- Concealing the source of funds obtained through illegal activities.
- A financial institution knowingly facilitating money laundering activities.
It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the specific elements of civil fraud may vary. JMR Solicitors play a crucial role in investigating, proving, and addressing civil fraud cases through the appropriate legal channels.
Can I pursue a civil fraud claim even if the criminal authorities are investigating the matter?
Yes, you can pursue a civil fraud claim independently of any criminal investigation. Civil and criminal proceedings are separate legal processes. While the authorities may be conducting a criminal investigation, you still have the option to initiate civil proceedings to recover losses or seek damages.
How does the burden of proof differ in civil fraud cases compared to criminal cases?
In civil fraud cases, the burden of proof is typically lower than in criminal cases. In civil proceedings, you must establish your case on the balance of probabilities, showing that it is more likely than not that the fraud occurred. Criminal cases require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, a higher standard of evidence.
Are there time limitations for filing a civil fraud claim?
Yes, there are time limitations, known as the statute of limitations, for filing civil fraud claims. The specific timeframes may vary depending on the nature of the fraud and jurisdiction. It is crucial to seek legal advice promptly to ensure compliance with these limitations and to preserve your right to bring a claim.
What role does evidence play in a civil fraud case?
Evidence is crucial in establishing a civil fraud case. This may include documents, financial records, communications, and witness testimony. Gathering and preserving evidence early in the process is vital for building a strong case. Legal professionals can guide you on the types of evidence needed and how to obtain and present it effectively.
Can a civil fraud case lead to criminal charges against the defendant?
While a civil fraud case focuses on recovering losses and obtaining damages, the evidence presented may prompt criminal authorities to investigate and potentially file criminal charges. The decision to pursue criminal charges is at the discretion of the prosecuting authorities.
Can a civil fraud case be settled out of court?
Yes, many civil fraud cases are settled out of court through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. Settlements can save time and costs, and the terms are typically agreed upon by both parties. Legal experts can assist in negotiating favourable settlements.
What remedies are available to victims of civil fraud?
Remedies in civil fraud cases may include financial compensation, recovery of assets, injunctions to prevent further harm, and orders to unwind fraudulent transactions. Legal professionals can assess the specific circumstances of your case and advise on the most appropriate remedies to pursue.
Can I freeze the assets of the defendant during a civil fraud case?
Yes, it is possible to obtain a freezing order (also known as an injunction) to freeze the defendant’s assets during a civil fraud case. This prevents the defendant from disposing of assets, ensuring that funds are available to satisfy any judgment in your favour.
What if the defendant is insolvent? Can I still pursue a civil fraud claim?
Pursuing a civil fraud claim against an insolvent defendant may present challenges, but it is still possible. Legal professionals can explore avenues such as insurance coverage, third-party claims, or pursuing other parties involved in the fraud. They can guide you on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances.
What types of fraud cases are you familiar with?
The term ‘fraud’ covers a large range of offences. Whether you are defending a claim or bringing a claim against another party we can offer you advice on:
- Abuse of position
- Money laundering
- Dishonest assistance
- Unlawful means conspiracy
- Knowing receipt
- Breach of trust/contract/fiduciary duty
- Fraudulent trading under the Companies Act 2006
- Offences under the Bribery Act 2010
- Restraint and Confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
- Market abuse under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
Regardless of the case, we are always mindful that our clients will wish to bring about a swift conclusion to cases so as to avoid any wasteful costs. We will endeavour to bring about the fastest possible conclusion to your matter whilst maintaining our meticulous standards of work and high level of client care.
What sanctions can be imposed on a defendant of a civil fraud case?
In civil proceedings, an effective victim may acquire an order that the defendant repay the money/assets taken and or pay damages to the victim. There is no sanction by way of punishment.
I am a victim of fraud – should I report the matter to the police or pursue the defendant through the civil courts via a civil fraud solicitor?
The chief concern is if you want to try and get your money back then you will need to bring civil proceedings against the defendant.
If you wish to bring a civil fraud case forward, contact JMR Solicitors for a swift conclusion on your case. We offer the best way to deal with the matter whilst being as supportive to your needs as possible.