Fraud at its highest level in the capital

Marion Dakers
FRAUD cases in London and the South East doubled in the first half of the year, to make up 81 per cent of all fraud committed in the UK, according to figures out today.

Around 88 fraud cases made it to court in the region, worth a total of £493m, compared to 44 cases worth £461m in the same period last year, says research by auditor KPMG.

“Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any sign of fraud declining in the region,” said Hitesh Patel, partner at KPMG Forensic. “Although the rate of increase in the value of fraud seems to be easing, the doubling in cases illustrates our fears that there would be more to come following the economic downturn.”

There were 166 cases across the UK, the highest number since KPMG started its fraud barometer 22 years ago.

Mortgage fraud has risen dramatically, from 18 cases worth £24m in the first half of 2009 to 21 cases valued at £96m this year.

The government was targeted by fraudsters in 38 cases worth £178m in the six months, though the overall figure will be higher as KPMG’s research only includes cases worth more than £100,000.

Financial institutions often fall victim to fraud, with 48 serious cases worth an average of £3.6m each making it to court in the research period.

Investors were also heavily targeted. Around 21 cases made it to the criminal courts, worth a total of £184.7m. Five of these were boiler room scams.