Global pandemic has affected every sector or industry and with it there has been an increase in the number of civil frauds.
The number of civil fraud cases heard in England and Wales courts increased by 50% from 2019 to 2020.
In fact, around £208 million worth of proceeds of crime were collected as of March 2020.
Civil fraud and asset recovery disputes need quick action to avoid any serious financial and legal consequences to individuals and businesses. Therefore, it is important to identify the perpetrators and causes of civil fraud. It requires pursuing, securing and preserving information and assets.
But before jumping to that, you need to understand what exactly is civil fraud and asset recovery.
What is Civil Fraud?
Civil fraud is a civil action brought by a victim or defrauded person to recover losses caused by misrepresentation of facts by the bad actor or defendant.
In this case, the defrauded person needs to prove the following to the court:
- The bad actor materially misrepresented the fact
- The fact was false
- The bad actor knew that it was false
- The bad actor committed the fraud with the with the intention of getting the victim to act on the misrepresentation
- The defrauded person acted reasonably in believing the misrepresentation
- The victim suffered a damage as a result of the misrepresentation
In a civil fraud case, the focus is on the victim obtaining compensation, which is a payment of money or transfer of assets from the fraudster or someone else who participated in the fraud.
What is Asset Recovery?
Asset recovery is the process by which assets such as money, luxury vehicles, mansions, obtained by illegal means are traced and recovered. It is all about repatriating the proceeds of corruption hidden in foreign jurisdictions.
These illegally obtained assets are returned, usually in the form of money, to the country from which they were stolen.
The process of tracing, freezing, confiscating, and returning the illegally obtained assets to their country of origin is a complex process. It involves multiple jurisdictions, technical, legal, and political barriers.
Here are the phases involved in the process:
- Pre-investigative phase: Investigator verifies the authenticity of the information.
- Investigative phase: Identification of proceeds of crime.
- Judicial phase: Final decision of confiscation is taken and the accused person is convicted.
- Disposal phase: Property is confiscated and disposed of by the state in accordance with the law.
You can also reach out to specialist civil fraud and asset recovery solicitors who can advise and assist you in fraud related litigations to the process easier.
Who Can Bring Civil Proceedings?
Any individual, company or any other organization can bring civil proceedings.
Sometimes, it also happens that claimants band together to bring civil proceedings when their allegations of fraud are against the same defendant. In addition to the same defendant, they may have similar facts to collectively bring a group or multi-party action.
What is the Cost Involved?
Here are the details of costs incurred by the claimant:
- Legal fees
- Investigation costs
- Out-of-pocket expenses that are also called disbursements
- Other funding options are sometimes available, such as litigation funding and insurance
The impact of civil fraud is usually bad on your business, which can also include huge financial loss.
Therefore, it is better to partner with a civil fraud and asset recovery lawyer or solicitor, who can work quickly to recover your stolen assets across multiple jurisdictions. Look for someone who can guide you on complex, cross-border fraud and asset tracing matters, such as cyber fraud, accounting fraud, and misrepresentation.