Being accused of any crime is an extremely unsettling time. Whilst you are trying to conduct legitimate business in what has been an unpleasant and very uncertain period, the last thing you would be prepared for are fraud allegations. But whether they are being levied by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs or a third party, it is important to seek out legal representation at the soonest possible juncture.
Being found responsible for fraud can have very significant consequences; not only financially, but it can affect future work opportunities by restricting your ability to register companies or hold the position of chief executive officer. It can also result in a prison sentence, therefore you need the support of a fraud solicitor.
If fraud allegations force you to suspend the activity of your business, this may cause you to swap your primary source of income, which will obviously have implications on your personal finances and potential mortgage payments; these things have to be considered when facing litigation settlement. Outside of court, this ought to be the first goal regardless of the charges against you and a competent solicitor will attempt to resolve the situation as much as possible in your favour.
There is no requirement for you to provide statements to the police. Legal advice should be gained as soon as possible, as the early statements made in any case are critical to how a case may unfold and how the later defence and prosecution will proceed.
The nature of fraud is extremely complicated based on the interactions of many areas of law and the regulatory requirements of both each individual industry, and tax and revenue implications. Unless you have some form of experience in this area of the law, the entire process can easily be overwhelming. The role of a fraud solicitor goes beyond simply representing you; it is to guide you and to keep you informed of how the situation is unfolding and what steps would be wise for you to take in order to ensure the best outcome.
Until the conclusion of a given case (or sometimes with appeals, not even then) an individual is innocent until proven guilty. Depending on the scale and nature of the fraud case, this will not stop media outlets publishing inflammatory content which may jump to the conclusion of your guilt. Managing media is one of the aspects of a fraud solicitor and also pursuing any libel cases that may result from inappropriate reporting of your case, as well as controlling what information is released into the public sphere, as this can jeopardise court proceedings.
The costs related to your defence can be met with your own assets, legal aid or in the event of false accusation, the ruling that the prosecution must cover defence costs. This varies greatly on a case-by-case basis and is something you would have to discuss with whichever solicitor you are currently considering hiring to represent you.
When considering hiring a fraud solicitor to represent you, check on their registration with the Law Society and ensure that they are fully licensed to practice. This can be done on the Law Society’s website.