The number of commercial fraud cases rose to 29 last year from 17 in 2000, according to the latest figures from KPMG Forensic’s Fraud Barometer.
The research looked at major fraud cases heard in the UK with charges over £100,000 in Crown Court.
The news comes as it emerged financial controls at AllFirst, the US subsidiary of Allied Irish Bank had come under intense scrutiny following the discovery of a $750m loss.
David Alexander, fraud investigation partner at KPMG Forensic, said: ‘The two biggest frauds which occurred during 2001, for £69m and £47m, were both commercial and both involved management.’
The rise is indicative of the recessionary environment, said Alexander.
‘When profits start to decrease, long-term frauds are more likely to come to light,’ he added.
The average number of defendants per fraud rose to 1.8 suggesting that it often takes collusion to commit a fraud.