British House of Lords debate new fraud law that will increase prosecution and provide clear definition of fraud

Wed 22 Jun 2005 4:32pm (UK) Fraud 'Crime of Choice' for Terror Funding
By Amanda Brown and Anthony Looch, PA Lords Staff

   There are growing signs that fraud is becoming the “crime of choice” for organized crime and terrorist funding, the Lords was warned today. Business and individuals also suffer, said the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.

   In urging peers to give the Fraud Bill an unopposed second reading, Lord Goldsmith said: “Far from being a victimless crime, fraud is an indiscriminate crime that wreaks long term damage to UK business and wider still fraud hits the pockets of every member of the population. “In 2000 the National Economic Research Association estimated that fraud cost the UK economy over £14 billion and that means every person in the UK lost £230 because of fraud.

  “Moreover that figure – which has no doubt increased since then– – does not reflect the part fraud plays in facilitating other crime types. “There are signs that fraud is becoming a crime of choice for organized crime and terrorist funding. “Reforming the law forms part of the Government’s overall strategy to combat fraud.”

   The Bill, which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, would improve the prosecution process in the following ways:

  1. It will provide a clear definition of fraud.

  2. It also simplifies fraud law, making it more comprehensible to juries and the general public.

  3. The Bill reduces the risk of cases being successfully disputed on technical points.

  4. It eases prosecutions by focusing on intentions rather than outcomes, including the dishonesty of the perpetrator rather than the deception of the victim.

  5. The Bill enables the law to be used to counteract unpredictable changes in technological, commercial and other practices.