Derbyshire conmen adding to higher levels of fraud

DERBYSHIRE criminals have helped the Midlands score a regional fraud hatrick.

For the third year in a row, the region has been shown to have the highest level of fraud outside London, with more than £205 million worth of fiddles – 20% of the UK total.

And Derbyshire fraudsters contributed more than a quarter of that figure. Illicit activities include £52 million of criminal proceeds being laundered through a home in Normanton, thought by police to be the biggest such scam uncovered in the East Midlands.

An illegal alcohol operation costing taxpayers £1 million was also masterminded from Derby.

Three men were jailed for stealing the identities of people living in Derby, Duffield and Ripley, fiddling eBay customers out of £100,000. It was a crime de scribed by the judge at Derby Crown Court as "an extensive, sophisticated and persistent fraud."

A property fraud that netted £328,000 by targeting pensioners, including some in Derbyshire, resulted in two men being found guilty at Derby Crown Court and jailed for two years.

A planning consultant from Derbyshire was jailed for making false VAT claims to the tune of £76,784.

And an employee from Matlock amusement park Gulliver's Kingdom was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.

A report from accountancy and business advisory firm BDO found eight cases of serious fraud in Derbyshire above £50,000.

Sat Plaha, forensic partner at BDO, said: "Fraud in the finance and insurance sector appears to be on the march although we need to give this context.

"The ever-increasing regulatory and compliance burden imposed on financial services firms by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority means that fraud which historically may not have been reported but rather dealt with privately in-house, is now coming out driven by a growing demand for transparency."

The top three types of reported fraud committed by number are theft and cash fraud, third-party fraud and tax fraud. Greed and the desire for a lavish lifestyle are noted as the primary motives the majority of cases.

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