It is difficult to believe that we are already into month 6 of 2010. It only seems like yesterday that I returned from my holiday in New York to the minus 15 degree centigrade weather at Manchester Airport at the beginning of January! Now five months later and we have a new Conservative government (Liberally tempered of course) in power and the promise of some sense being brought to the UK. Sense that is after some massive cuts in all the areas of public spending that generally pay my bills! Time for some radical thinking or what?
Actually I do not see the pressure on public spending as a problem. As somebody who has always operated on a “value based” approach instead of the professionals’ normal “hourly based fee” I find that I still remain competitive in all areas of publicly funded fraud activities. This includes working for the fraud regulators and undertaking expert witness work funded by the Legal Services Commission.
However, it is no good being simply “competitive” these days. Promise of results should be most important. In the field of dealing with fraud matters this can be very difficult and yet I believe that one of the fraud investigators’ biggest developing markets is the smaller company or individual who has lost money to the crooks. This is the sector that seems to have the hardest time sorting out the problems caused by the fraudster. Identity theft causes disproportionate distress to the victims compared to the financial; lo0ss they suffer. They also lose credit ratings and the ability to operate in today’s digital environment. Gone are the days that we were paid in cash and bought everything we needed using the same. The loss of a few hundred pounds by a family can cause huge hardship, and thousands of such victims together will provide millions of income for the organised fraudsters.
It is important that smaller losses are investigated. There should be little attention paid to proportionality where crime is involved, but when it comes to trying to get £10,000 back from an employee theft this does not seem to be the case. The only way I have been able to help victims in such smaller cases is to write a letter for them after a brief look at the case details and one or two documents – for them to take to the police. such a letter can cause the authorities to sit up and take note – it is sort of a mini- fraud investigation report that serves to illustrate the seriousness of the loss and show that further investigation will bear fruit. By spending a little on such a letter can stimulate interest and even provide a focus for other victims to band together and fund a worthwhile asset recover action. First Stage Investigation Services are intended to be a cost effective solution to the situation where the level of loss does not merit huge sums being invested in recovery action but can serve either as a catalyst for more substantial regulatory action (and compensation) or can even promote a negotiated settlement in some cases.