In law a conspiracy is simply an agreement between two or more persons to do an unlawful act or acts.To be party to such an agreement is an offence in itself. It can be applied to all criminal offences, for example conspiracy to murder or conspiracy to steal, but in recent years has become more prevalent in the way fraud is presented by the authorities.
You do not actually have to actively carry out the fraud to be guilty of the offence as being party to the agreement is sufficient, however in reality, even if the fraud has been committed, the matter will still be investigated as a conspiracy for a number of reasons.
Firstly in cases that have a large number of suspects it is much easier for the investigators or the prosecution to present the case as a conspiracy rather than ascribing individual specific offences of fraud on particular dates to each individual.
Secondly it can often be difficult to prove what an individual actually did in terms of a specific offence but much easier to prove that he or she was party to a general agreement.
Thirdly the period of the conspiracy can be set out relatively widely such that involvement in offending on particular specific dates does not need to be proved. All that needs to be proved is that there was some involvement at some point during the broad ambit of the conspiracy period.
Fourthly, an allegation of conspiracy allows investigators and prosecutors to invite inferences to be drawn from evidence such as telephone records without there being any actual detail of the content of a single telephone call.
For these reasons conspiracy allegations can easily be wrongly made and require particular expertise and experience to defend. The evidence in such cases is voluminous and complex and often involves vast amounts of electronic financial documentation and telephonic material. A skilled defence team can turn on its head the explanation drawn from that material that a person’s activity and involvement was in pursuit of crime and present a completely credible case for innocent activity.
Cunninghams have extensive experience of successfully defending allegations of large scale conspiracies to defraud or cheat the Public Revenue employing the skills of a range of specialists including forensic accountants, telephonic experts and IT forensics.
In the event of an investigation or accusation it is important that expert legal advice is engaged at the earliest opportunity.
Taking advice early could mean the difference between facing court proceedings or avoiding them entirely. The penalties for fraud conspiracies are severe and involve the imposition of prison sentences even in low level cases.
Operating nationwide from our bases in the City of London and central Manchester Cunninghams are leaders in defending those accused of serious fraud and complex crime and are consistently ranked as a leading practice in these fields in all guides to the UK legal profession. Specialising in this work for over 30 years has resulted in an enviable network of experts, forensic accountants, QC’s and senior barristers to draw upon as we tailor our clients bespoke defence team
All our serious casework is led by a director with who you will have direct contact. If you are being investigated or have been charged with conspiracy to defraud it is important not to delay. Contact us and you will receive immediate expert advice from an experienced fraud defence lawyer.