Fraud triples as young try it on

Fraud in Yorkshire more than tripled during the first half of 2014 compared with last year, rising from £4.9m to £15m, the biggest increase of any English region.

The increase from 11 crimes last year to 18 in 2014 – a 64 per cent rise – was partly due to an increase in cases involving 26-35 year olds.

The latest cases also suggest companies have failed to spot a ‘changing of the guard’ as the profile shifts from rogue senior executives to young people fuelling extravagant lifestyles.

Analysis of cases going through British Crown Courts since the start of 2014 show a 285 per cent increase in frauds committed by those aged 26-35, with a value of £62m, while those committed by people aged 46 and over fell by 72 percent to £88m.

Vivien Osborne, forensic director at KPMG in Yorkshire, said: “The escalation of fraud across Yorkshire, which bucks the national trend, is worrying. Young fraudsters are becoming more brazen in abusing their positions of power or trust to fund often luxury lifestyles.

“The findings reinforce the importance of putting robust detection systems in place, but to also avoid falling into the trap of old stereotypes.”

Nationally, cases totalling £317m were recorded in the first half of 2014, according to KPMG, a 39 percent drop compared to the same period last year, but the number has remained constant.

Vivien Osborne said: “Where once it was the jaded executive who relied on unquestioned authority to get away with dipping their hands in the till, it seems we are witnessing a changing of the guard.

“Today’s fraudster is younger and just at ease with using technology as selling promises.

“It is important for organisations to recognise that youth doesn’t always equal innocence.”

The latest national figures also show that, for the first six months of 2014, the average case value was £2 million – a fall of 43 percent compared to that recorded between January and July 2013 (£3.5 million). On the face of it, this sounds like good news, but history shows fraudsters tend to start with smaller schemes, to test the system, with value then increasing as their confidence grows if they are not caught.

Employee-perpetrated ‘insider’ frauds in the £1m-£10m bracket rose 10-fold as white collar crime endures.