Soaring London fraud rate tops a bumper decade for criminals

A record £1.3bn of fraud committed in 2009 highlights a surge in the level of the crime during the 2000s when 1,750 cases were registered.

It meant fraudsters netted more than £7bn of ill-gotten gains in a decade which saw the ascent of high profile “super-cases” involving billions of dollars and notorious individuals such as Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford.

London and the South East remains the fraud hotspot of the UK, accounting for almost £820m of the fraud that came to court in the past year, according to KPMG’s Fraud Barometer.

KPMG forensic partner Hitesh Patel said: “Britain appears to have a rising fraud problem, as is evident by looking at the steady increase through the last ten years. The last decade, I am afraid, could certainly be dubbed the ‘naughty Noughties’. The credit crunch will undoubtedly make the situation worse, and we are yet to see the full impact of it. The forecast therefore is: getting worse.”

The figures compare with the 1990’s when only 700 cases came to court. Despite the increase in fraud Patel said more cases were being prosecuted due to a “greater focus on corporate governance” and “new laws and regulations that combat fraud”.