My colleague blogger “Insider” wrote yesterday about the growing menace of fraud. No doubt, things get worse when people get desperate in a recession.
However, there are some underlying problems facing our society when one looks at the crime of fraud. All criminals are opportunists, and those ready to commit fraud are no exception. Criminals also believe that they will get away with their misdemeanors. The problem with fraud is that from a police perspective, it is not a high priority crime. I’m sure the public would be up in arms if the Constabulary announced they were taking officers off anti terrorism and knife crime in order to fight fraud. Commercial fraud, much of it “white collar” crime, seems to be seen by many policemen as victimless i.e. if companies lose money, they can just write it off as a bad debt etc.
If the criminal fraternity or desperate “recession hit” business people think the police aren’t that interested in pursuing fraudsters, the crime is made more attractive to perpetrate.
It’s also true that fraud convictions are notoriously difficult to obtain in the courts. A personal experience gives an insight into why this could be.
I was once invited by the authorities to do my duty as a juror at Knightsbridge Crown Court. On one morning, I was asked to come into a courtroom, where the judge explained we would be asked to become jurors in a complicated fraud case that might last four months. Business executives on the jury like me soon put their hands up to ask to be excused from the case as they couldn’t afford to be away from their jobs for that long. Several of us left the room excused from duty, leaving a couple of housewives, two london transport workers, and a shop assistant still there from the original pool of jurors. i guess the process continued when the next batch of potential jurors was hauled in to the courtroom. Get my point?
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