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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Employee fraud can cause major problems

By Andrew Reilly

While some people commit theft and fraud after a lot of planning and consideration, it is fair to say that many people commit these crimes because the opportunity arose. A person may not have considered themselves to be a criminal or someone who was likely to break the law, but because of circumstance, they found themselves in a position where there was an opportunity to commit a crime and receive some benefit.
Employee fraud
Fraud includes bribes, illegal transactions & extortion 

Many people will be faced with temptation and while it is fair to say that most people can resist this temptation, for a number of reasons, it may be that some people are unable to avoid this. While everyone knows that committing serious crimes like theft and fraud will have serious consequences, there is often a rationalisation that goes on in the persons head. There may also be some thought that they will not get caught, which means that they don’t pay much attention to the potential consequences of acting in such a manner. However, far too many people have found out that there are serious consequences of being caught committing a fraud, especially one of such a high nature.

This was the case for Christine Quinn, a 34 year old woman from Belfast, who pleaded guilty to defrauding a sum of £10,000. The victim was the Department for Social Development, who were employers. The period of time ran between October 2010 and March 2011, with the woman eventually pleading guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of power, when she appeared in Belfast Crown Court. The crime was undertaken by making benefits payments, of a false nature, to her mother. Quinn also denied two other counts made against her in court, which were charges of copying a false instrument.

People in positions of trust need to be responsible

There are many positions of trust that people are placed into, and of course, there is an expectation for them to act above board in all manners. This is crucial and it is something that all employees will be told at the start and will be reminded of at various times during their career. It is not as though the law itself is enough of a reminder about what can and can’t be done by people who hold a position of power, there will be plenty of reminders that people in a position of power need to be accountable at all times.

The court heard that a total of £10,000 was paid into the bank account of her mother but before too long, these funds were transferred over to an account that Mrs Quinn held with her husband. The prosecution lawyer in court pointed out that under interview, Mrs Quinn stated that she was acting to help out her mother, and then the funds were transferred away from her mother. It was also recognised that the accused had submitted claims on her husband’s behalf, but there spotted and stopped before the money was paid. This means that there was a potential loss of £25,000.

There could be severe financial penalties to come

With the judge saying that money is expected to be paid back, there is a continuing need for Quinn to receive the best level of defence. Sentencing has been adjourned until the beginning of October with a report prior to sentencing being created. The fact that there is a dual element to the case, the sentencing and then likely a focus on the proceeds of crime indicates that there is a real need to have legal representation that is skilled and experienced.

The right sort of defence will be able to:
  • Effectively quote precedent
  • Provide reliable expectations at all times
  • Be fully prepared for what may come ahead
  • Will have experience of this style of case
  • Will prepare a client fully for questioning
  • Will be able to advise regarding appeals or follow-on cases
In this sort of case, it is possible that some clients will have one firm all the way through, while other clients may decide it is best to use to one firm for the initial case, and then to utilise the skills of another criminal defence team with respect to the amount of money that needs to be paid back,. Finding a single criminal defence team that can provide support for the entire case is likely to be of benefit but in some cases, it may be best splitting the matter into two, and then receiving the best level of support across the entire spectrum of the cases. 

About the author: Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 8 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

Image: Pixabay, US-PD