Birkbeck’s Institute for Criminal Policy Research set to examine the facilitation of organised fraud

The ICPR are launching a survey to understand the role of professional enablers in money laundering and fraud.

 The Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), part of Birkbeck’s School of Law, is examining the facilitation of organised fraud by professional enablers, such as solicitors and accountants, and money launderers.

With 3.2 million incidents of fraud recorded by the Crime Survey for England and Wales in the year ending September 2017, it is unsurprising that fraud is now the most commonly experienced crime in the UK, according to the National Crime Agency, or that the Police Foundation believes that an estimated 31-45% of fraud is linked to organised crime. Money laundering the proceeds of fraud or using laundered money to facilitate fraud also poses a significant threat to the UK's economy. 

The significant role played by professionals - both wittingly and unwittingly - in the facilitation of organised fraud was highlighted in a previous study on Organised Crime Groups Involved in Fraud conducted by Tiggey May and Bina Bhardwa at the ICPR.

As part of their current study, the researchers are conducting an independent survey to gain a better understanding of how professionals are targeted and recruited by organised crime groups (OCGs), the regulatory response to this threat, and the measures taken to protect the profession.

Solicitors, law firms and accountants are an attractive target for OCGs as they add legitimacy to financial and property transactions, and also regularly hold large sums of client money. These professions play a critical role in detecting and preventing money laundering. Organised crime can only operate if criminals can move money into the legitimate financial world.

Representatives from the Solictor's Regulation Authority, the Law Society, City of London Police, the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Ministry of Justice, the Financial Conduct Authority, CiFAS, Victim Support, the National Police Chiefs Council and the Serious Fraud Office sit on the study's Steering Group.

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