Forensics asked to spearhead anti-fraud fight

The head of a newly-established anti-fraud body has appealed to forensic
accountants to help it reduce fraud, which is estimated to cost the UK £14bn a

Sandra Quinn, interim chief executive of the
Fraud Strategic Authority
, an executive agency of the Attorney General’s
Office, said forensic accountants who have investigated fraud in civil recovery
cases had valuable experience to pass on.

‘Forensic accountants can have an in-depth knowledge of new fraud threats,’
Quinn told Accountancy Age.

‘We are interested in their experience in the public and private sectors.
They potentially have a lot to teach us.’

The NFSA has already worked with the ICAEW accountancy institute when
investigating mortgage fraud.

Quinn was talking after the NFSA last week announced a three-year strategy to
combat fraud, the first of its kind, including the creation of a National Fraud
Reporting Centre and tackling identity and mass marketing frauds.

Fraud costs the UK economy £14bn a year, according to an estimate from the
Association of Chief Police Officers, although Quinn said this figure is likely
to be an underestimate.

The NFSA is backed by 25 private and public bodies, including the British
Bankers Association, payment body APACS and seven government departments ­
including the Home Office and Ministry of Justice.

In the 10 months to February, police forces investigated more than £1bn of
fraud as part of NFSA’s anti-fraud drive, involving 71 cases and 36 arrests,
Quinn said.

Experts believe corporate fraud will rise in the coming months as the economy
worsens, following a pattern seen in previous slumps.

Publicly reported fraud cost UK companies £1.19bn last year, a 14% increase
year-on-year, according to a survey published in January by BDO Stoy Hayward.

Nearly two-thirds of affected companies were in the banking and insurance
sectors, the annual FraudTrack survey found. Companies also reported a surge in
fraud committed by suppliers and customers, such as suppliers under delivering
goods and over charging delivery, BDO found.

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