Cases of Fraud Soar 80% And Involve 18M

15 February 2016, 15:14 | Updated: 15 February 2016, 15:15

Reported fraud in Scotland rose 80% last year to a value of more than £18 million, according to new analysis.

The figures were contained in the latest FraudTrack report by accountants and business advisers BDO.

It found the total value of reported fraud was just over £10 million in 2014 but soared to £18.1 million during 2015.

Across the whole of the UK, it went up 110% from £720 million to £1.5 billion over the same period.

North of the border, the highest value reported fraud, at £6 million, was in Dundee and involved a money laundering scam known as "cuckoo smurfing''.

It involves replacing legitimate cash intended for bank transfers overseas with "dirty'' money. The cuckoo element refers to the depositing of funds in the accounts of unsuspecting individuals.

But cases involving theft and cash accounted for 42% of all frauds last year.

In one case, a former NHS worker stole medical equipment worth £1.3 million, which he then sold on.

Another case involved a woman who embezzled £726,000 from trusts established to help charities.

Sat Plaha, head of regional forensic services with BDO, said: The jump in the value of reported fraud in Scotland is skewed by the £6 million value of the 'cuckoo surfing' case, but clearly fraud remains a major issue for Scottish business.

Theft and cash fraud is by far the most common method of defrauding a business. This is because many businesses simply do not have sufficient checks and balances within their operation to ensure that trusted employees cannot exploit loopholes.''

BDO found greed and funding a lavish lifestyle were the main motivating factors behind fraudulent behaviour, followed by gambling and debts.

Mr Plaha added: "Without proper controls many companies may well suffer fraud for many years without noticing. It is essential for companies, charities and businesses to put in place systems to monitor financial transactions so that fraudsters cannot continue for years without detection.''