Every case starts with some form of reason to suspect wrongdoing. That reason can be a tip off through whistleblowing, or stumbling across some information which causes concern. Often in fraud and dishonesty cases, the concerns at the heart of a case evolve from that first suspicion.

It is not often that a ‘smoking gun’ is discovered at the outset of your concerns.

In many cases, a party affected considers that fraud is not the reason for their concern, for example when considering who may be suspected of committing the fraud or if this is a situation of carelessness as opposed to intended dishonesty.

In other cases, you do believe fraud has been committed but do not know who by.

Our experience of fraud investigations tells us that there are many factors to consider when fraud is first suspected.

Whether you are an individual, a company or not-for profit organisation, whether you are regulated or not, many of these factors will be relevant to you.

Examples of issues you need to consider include:

  • Communications with the party suspected
  • Preserving and not interfering with evidence such as emails and other electronic stored information and data
  • Human resources issues such as suspension.
  • Communications with other parties affected, employees of your organisation and external media
  • Whether there is insurance in place which may assist and what to do about notifying insurers and complying with condition precedents in your policies
  • Reporting to regulators (if required)
  • Considering your loss and how to protect your position if a defendant is likely to dissipate (move) their assets from view (i.e. considering whether to obtain a freezing injunction)
  • Considering whether disclosure is needed from any third parties to enable findings to be made about the suspected fraud (for example non-party disclosure from banks of bank statements of the party suspected).
  • Commissioning external experts, for example asset tracing or forensic IT experts or accountants

Getting a handle on what to do and in what order can often lead to significantly different outcomes if you decide to pursue civil recovery through the Court process.

If you act in haste without legal advice, that may lead to damage to evidence or tipping off a suspected party (whether they are known or not known to you) so that they move their assets which can make any subsequent claim of limited benefit.

If you are regulated organisation, ensuring an accurate record of decision making and reasons for such decisions, the process and outcome is essential when detailing matters to your regulator.

Often, we simply advise clients on the best steps to take, after all, it is often the client that knows their own business better than anyone else. We can be on hand to work as closely or in as limited scope as is required but if we help in setting the right course at the outset, that in our experience is key to a more likely successful outcome.

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Tenet Compliance & Litigation Limited. Registered Office, 10th Floor, Lyndon House, 62 Hagley Road, Birmingham, B16 8PE. Registered in England and Wales. Registered No: 09776405. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Identification No. 626562.
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