False Accounting Defence Solicitors
False accounting is a serious financial offence. If it is suspected that the crime of false accounting has been committed within a business, the police, the HMRC and other government agencies will launch a thorough investigation to uncover the truth of the situation.
If you are being investigated for false accounting or you have been arrested or charge with the offence, our experienced team of professional fraud defence solicitors are available now to support you.
Here at Draycott Browne, a UK-based law firm with a tenacious array of specialist fraud lawyers, we understand how frightening and stressful being investigated for false accounting can be. That's why we'll be with you every step of the way throughout your investigation. For personalised help and advice, contact us today to discuss your case.
What will my solicitor do?
After being instructed to represent you, your solicitor will immediately take action to familiarise themselves with the unique circumstance of your individual case. Usually, this will involve speaking to you directly, carefully analysing your business's accounts, and judiciously scrutinising the evidence held by the prosecution. Your lawyer will then begin to build your defence case, utilising the facts of your case and their own knowledge and experience of this field of the law to produce a defence that will aim to secure you the best possible outcome for your case.
Having helped thousands of clients throughout the UK, are prominent legal team are renowned for their knowledge, expertise, and tenacious defence schemes. We have helped our clients secure favourable outcomes for their unique circumstances, and we're here to do the same for you. Contact us today for more information.
What is false accounting?
Under Section 16 of the Theft Act 1968, false accounting is defined as the purposeful changing, destroying, defacing or omitting of a company's financial information for the purpose of accumulating financial wealth and/or causing financial loss to another company.
False accounting is a type of fraud and, as such, it is taken very seriously by a number of financial agencies. The law surrounding false accounting is extremely complicated, and the help of an experienced solicitor is required to navigate it effectively. Our solicitors have years of experience representing individuals charged with such offences, having built bespoke defences for a varied array of affected UK clients.
Who can be charged with false accounting?
False accounting may be committed by one individual working within a larger company, or by a number of individuals working together as part of a company-wide conspiracy to commit fraud. Whatever the circumstances of your case, and the role you played, we're here to help.
Experience tells us that many cases of false accounting are committed by well-meaning business directors, many of whom, whilst facing pressure from bosses and external clients and share-holders, desperately inflate their company's accounts and share prices in a frantic effort to keep the business afloat. If you have made poor financial decisions out of fear, anxiety or worry, we're here to help you.
During our time representing clients, we have also learned that many individuals who become embroiled in company-wide plots to falsify documents do so under coercion, or as a direct result of bullying. For these individuals, engaging in the conspiracy may be the only way they can keep their jobs and continue to provide for their family. If you have been terrorised into behaving in a fraudulent manner, your defence lawyer could show that mitigating factors were at play and help you to secure a favourable sentence.
Sometimes, accidents can lead to financial accounts appear fraudulent. For false accounting to be proven by the prosecution, it has to be shown that the accounts were doctored by individuals who expressed desired to defraud someone else. When omissions and adjustments are made incorrectly because of human error, the behaviour is not deemed fraudulent.
Whatever the circumstances of your case, our impartial and trustworthy solicitors will treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve.
Are company directors, officers, secretaries or other staff potentially liable?
False accounting is a crime that can be committed by any employee in a business. If you are an officer or director of a company that is suspected of being affected by false accounting, you will be questioned as part of the investigation, and could be deemed liable for any offences that are shown to have been committed by your staff.
As an officer or director, you should have oversight of your company's finances, and be aware of any fraudulent offences that are being committed by your staff. Managers and secretaries can also be held accountable. For this reason, if you hold a position of importance within a business where false accounting has been proven to have occurred, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible.
Enlisting the professional help of a qualified fraud lawyer does is not a sign of guilt, but is instead a reasonable, intelligent and protective step to take when potentially facing a serious false accounting case. No matter your situation, our tenacious fraud lawyers are available to offer you high-quality advice and legal representation.
How is false accounting investigated?
Serious fraud, such as false accounting, is usually investigated by either the Serious Fraud office, or by the HRMC. Additionally, cases can also be managed by the police, who have the power to arrest, detain and seize the personal and corporate property of individuals who are suspected of having fraudulently doctored a business's financial accounts.
Furthermore, the SFO has the power to force suspects to provide documentation that they believe is pertinent to the case. If you are forced to provide documents to the investigating parties, or assist them in some way, your solicitor will guide you through the process of claiming your goods and documents.
They will also meticulously scan the documents you are sent to ensure all paperwork has been filed correctly. Where errors have been made, your solicitor will work to delay or dismiss the order.
What if I have been arrested?
If you have been arrested by the police for the crime of false accounting, you will be invited by the police to take part in a police interview, during which time investigators will ask you questions about the potential case and your role in it. Ultimately, the aim of the interview will be to uncover evidence, through your testimony, that the police can use to convince the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) to charge with you with the crime. Prior to the interview beginning, you will be read your rights, and told that you have both the right to remain silent when questioned, and the right to have a solicitor present during the interview.
Most police departments offer arrested individuals the aid of a duty solicitor, but it is very unlikely that any duty lawyer will have the knowledge of financial law required to successfully help you through a daunting false accounting interview. The area of law that covers false accounting is extremely complex, and when you're facing a charge of such a severe nature, you deserve the representation of a lawyer who is schooled and experienced in this field.
Many clients worry that enlisting a lawyer of their own choosing will be interpreted by the police as an admission of guilt, but this isn't true. Being in a police interview is extremely demanding and stressful, and the help of an experienced lawyer is required to navigate one's way through it. Regardless of what stage of proceedings you are it, having the backing of an experienced lawyer will help you feel more prepared for the interview.
What evidence will be used against me?
In any criminal trial, the onus is on the prosecution to prove, through the collection of evidence that is pertinent to the case, that the accused individual definitely, beyond reasonable doubt, committed the crime they have been accused of.
In false accounting cases, a forensic accountant is usually employed to thoroughly examine the company's account and identify signs and examples of fraudulent trading that could be used as evidence of guilt in a court of law. If you are a company director facing a false accounting investigation, you should enlist the help of your own forensic accountant, who will examine your accounts on your behalf and inform you of any anomalies found.
Finding a forensic accountant can be a daunting task, which is why we're here. As qualified and experienced fraud defence lawyers, we have contacts throughout the industry, and are able to engage the help of renowned forensic accountants to help in your case. The evidence they uncover could be used to aid your defence.
Sometimes, the prosecution's version of events may be hype-inflated, with their portrayal of the scenario being much more negative than it is in reality. Enlisting a solicitor who can employ the services of a forensic accountant for defensive purposes can help you to counteract the claims put forward by the prosecution by providing you with alternative information and evidence.
Having helped with hundreds of false accounting cases throughout the UK, we know that false accounting can occur accidentally. Human errors can result in accidental discrepancies in a company's financial data. Entries may be incorrect or accidentally omitted.
For a case of false accounting to be held in court, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant behaved dishonestly, and that any anomalies found in the company's data were a result of wilful fraud and not accidental oversight. As such, if errors are found, it does not mean you are necessarily guilty. A qualified and experienced defence lawyer will be able to help you build a case.
What will happen during the trial?
While the potential reasons for an accusation or charge of false accounting or wide or varied, once the trial begins, it will be down to the jury to determine, firstly, whether they believe any fraudulent activities were undertaken and, secondly, the extent to which they believe the accused is guilty of behaving fraudulently.
Given the complexity of this field of law, it can be easy for jurors to become swept up in the prosecution's momentum and to become confused by the legal jargon being used by the opposing side. For this reason, it is essential that your defence is crafted and delivered by a tenacious solicitor who is knowledgeable of criminal law, and experienced in presenting informative and convincing defences to juries. If a mistake has occurred, your lawyer's defence will endeavour to undermine the prosecution's evidence and show that you did not behave fraudulently.
If fraudulent behaviour did occur, your lawyer will build a defence that endeavours to secure the most favourable outcome for your case, perhaps by highlighting the mitigating circumstances that influenced and affected your decision, or by arguing against the prosecution's portrayal of you.
If your trial involves a number of accused parties, the prosecution will have to prove that each and every individual all knowingly played a role in the falsification of the accounts. It may be that, of the people accused, some are guilty and others are not. For example, in the case of a company-wide scheme, it is perfectly possible that a falsification scheme could have been orchestrated by an accounting team or other employee without the director's knowledge.
If you are being tried with others, it is imperative that you have your own lawyer who will fight on your behalf. Contact us today to find out more.
What are the consequences of a guilty verdict?
False accounting is a serious offence that can carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. Other punishments, which may be given in addition to a custodial sentence, including fines and, if you are a company director, disqualification from being a director or officer from a specified period of time. Depending on the nature of the false accounting, you may also be required to pay compensation to any victims who suffered financial harm because of your actions.
Can I get a criminal record for false accounting?
False accounting can lead to a criminal record, which is why it is imperative that you obtain legal help from an experienced solicitor who will be able to secure the most favourable outcome for your unique circumstances. If you have concerns about an ongoing false accounting case, or about a potential false accounting case, contact a solicitor today. Once instructed, your solicitor will do their utmost to ensure you remain out of prison, and your name remains undamaged by the proceedings you have endured.
What are mitigating circumstances?
If you have played a role in a false accounting scheme, there may have been mitigating circumstances that either influenced you to take part or made it impossible for you to remove yourself from the situation.
For example, you may have felt compelled, because of bullying, to engage in the scheme. If you are found guilty of false accounting, your solicitor may be able to encourage leniency from the court by showing the mitigating circumstances of your case. In other words, they will highlight to the jury that your actions were perhaps not entirely your own, or that you did not cause a significant degree of harm to the victims of the fraud.
For more information about whether there are mitigating circumstances in your case, contact a member of your team today to discuss your case, in confidence, with an experienced and professionally trained lawyer.
Can I reduce my sentence with a guilty plea?
If you are found guilty of committing an offence of false accounting, you could reduce your sentence by pleading guilty before you are found guilty. In recent years, a collective desire from the judicial system and defendants to reduce the costs and stresses associated with being summoned to court and forced to endure a lengthy criminal trial has resulted in important changes to the UK's sentencing system.
For offenders aged over 18, pleading a guilty plea early on in proceedings can dramatically reduce the term of the custodial sentence that is given. Studies have shown that providing a guilty plea at an early stage and, in doing so, allowing he court to avoid the cost of organising a criminal trial, the shorter the overall prison sentence is for the guilty partner. Generally, the term 'early on’ means any time up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates or Crown Court.
If you do decide to plead guilty, you should discuss your decision with your lawyer. After considering your reasons and circumstances and carefully, your solicitor will be able to advise on whether giving a guilty plea early on is a sensible and worthwhile option for you overall. For some clients, providing a guilty plea early on is the best way to secure a favourable outcome.
CONTACT DRAYCOTT BROWNE's FALSE ACCOUNTING DEFENCE lawyers today
Our False Accounting specialists are part of the wider team of nationally recognised Criminal Defence Lawyers. Contact us today by calling +44 (0)161 228 2244. If you would like us to contact you, simply fill in our online enquiry form and a member of the team will be in touch as soon as possible.
As a leading Criminal Law firm, we regularly act for corporate clients and directors in London and throughout the North West including Manchester and Liverpool, when in need of expert legal representation and following allegations of white collar crime and regulatory investigations.
By entrusting your case to us, you can be assured that you will be working with a team of highly skilled and experienced solicitors who have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the law.
Our legal team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When your business faces the stiffest challenge, you cannot afford to settle for anything less than Draycott Browne.