Any allegations of fraudulent trading require the expert advice and representation of a barrister. As these types of cases usually occur at a time when an organisation has become insolvent, they add considerable pressure on directors already in an extremely stressful situation.
Fraudulent Trading Lawyer
I understand the urgency of obtaining a robust defence in fraudulent trading cases and am happy to meet you on weekends or in the evening. I have worked on several high-profile fraud cases and therefore understand the need for discretion, especially if there is media interest in the proceedings. When creating a defence, be it in a civil or criminal case, I take the time to listen to clients and research their industry thoroughly. This allows me to understand industry standards and cultural norms, which can be weaved into a client’s defence, thereby ensuring it is credible and persuasive.
By instructing me directly, you may save the costs of having to work with both a barrister and a Solicitor. I have a deep understanding, not only of the law but also how business works. This allows me to quickly spot tactical advantages and bring an end to the matter quickly, often without the need for a trial. Should court proceedings prove inevitable, I will work tirelessly to prepare and present a strong defence.
What is the difference between wrongful and fraudulent trading?
If a company director knows (or should have realised) that their business is going into liquidation but carries on operating, they may be guilty of wrongful trading. If, however, that company director carries on trading with the intention of defrauding creditors then it is classed as fraudulent trading.
Penalties for fraudulent trading are far more severe as it is always a criminal act. But for both wrongful and fraudulent trading, the all-important factor is the finding and utilising of evidence. By instructing a barrister directly, you can be confident of receiving expert advice at the all-important disclosure stage. Given the vast amount of electronic communication held by companies, ensuring the right evidence is ascertained and examined is crucial to a successful outcome. As well as advising you on this crucial process, I can use the evidence to establish the lack of criminal intent, showing that naivety/bad management was at fault rather than a deliberate attempt to defraud.
What is the penalty if I am convicted of fraudulent trading?
Because fraudulent trading is deemed to have occurred when directors carry on trading in order to defraud creditors, the penalties are more severe than they are for wrongful trading; which itself is not necessarily an unlawful act. Fraudulent trading can carry up to 10 years’ imprisonment under the Companies Act 1996.
However, it is not just the criminal penalty which a director must be concerned about. Your professional reputation can be severely tarnished following a conviction of wrongful or fraudulent trading, resulting in severely limited future career opportunities. When you instruct me as your barrister in a wrongful or fraudulent trading case, I will work closely with you to build a robust defence and provide ongoing support to you and your family. Being deeply dedicated to my profession, and possessing a considerable work-ethic, you can trust that by working directly with me, your matter has the best opportunity of a favourable outcome.
What is the best approach to defending a fraudulent trading allegation?
Anyone facing a wrongful or fraudulent trading accusation needs to swiftly refer to company accounts, expenditure, business plans, and their track record of VAT, PAYE, National Insurance, and creditor payments. These will be utilised to paint a picture of you acting reasonably at all times during your tenure at the helm of the company. Once such a defence is built, the challenge facing the Prosecution is how to rebut the defence arguments and find new ways of interpreting this evidence – and any other evidence they may have obtained – to indicate that the director has failed to act reasonably. My experience in all types of civil and criminal fraud cases ensures that I will be prepared for any such strategies and successfully rebut them, or place considerable doubt in the mind/s of the judge and/or jury.
What type of mitigating factors are available in fraudulent trading cases?
I can argue mitigating factors such as the size of the amounts of money involved, the period over which the fraud was carried out, whether there have been voluntary repayments, and the existence of personal issues such as illness or family problems to mitigate the sentence should you be convicted.
By instructing me, you can be assured of having counsel who will carefully listen to the facts of your situation and build a strong, persuasive defence. In addition, I will represent you at police station interviews and/or at voluntary interviews under caution with a regulator. I am also able to work with a Solicitor on fraudulent trading matters, ensuring you receive the most comprehensive legal advice and representation available.