Fraud allegations can be applied without warning; the nature of fraud and the complex web of evidence that has to be collected before a fraud arrest is made usually results in no warning given to the suspect. If they were aware there were ongoing investigations into their financial activity, they would take steps to obscure or destroy evidence relevant to the case. Unfortunately, this means those who are falsely accused or falsely implicated of involvement in a fraud case can find themselves being arrested in the small hours of the morning. A shocking and disorientating experience at the very least.
The best way to mitigate your risk in this situation is to make no statements whatsoever and await fraud solicitor. This is usually obtained from the on-duty solicitor; if you do not have a solicitor which you work with at your place of work or company, don’t worry as one can be provided for you. Often, fraud is related to corporate ownership and if you are an executive officer of a company the fraud allegations levied against that company may be the reason why you have been detained. If so, legal services are often included as part of business insurance packages, and you should explore your insurance contract in order to see what services you have already paid for but never noticed or previously needed.
The initial phase of the investigation is by far the most important in determining your outcome; you may have been detained as part of a raid that was not directly targeted at you and you will be held only briefly whilst your role in the situation is ascertained, leaving the station without any charges. Alternatively, this may be the start of you having to defend yourself in court. As such your initial statements will have large impacts on how the prosecution will pursue you and how your defence will have to react. It is best to act conservatively and cautiously in this situation and although you may be entirely innocent, legal advice needs to be obtained as soon as possible, as not obtaining legal advice is not seen as a sign of innocence, and errors at this junction can have great implications.
The scope of fraud law
After any initial work with the duty solicitor in handling your first statements with the police, it would be wise to use a specialist solicitor who is experienced, not only in fraud but the area of fraud of which you have found yourself accused of breaching.
Fraud itself is a very wide area of the law encompassing everything from interactions with HMRC, achieving regulatory compliance of a Pacific industry (for instance Food Standards within a catering company) and hiring practices related to the right to work in the UK or other immigration factors. Sometimes, even the existence of assets without a clear origin can result in an unexplained wealth order, where you have to justify how you legally obtained the suspicious assets. This is an attempt to curtail organised crime and money laundering but one that can result in innocent individuals having to justify their assets.