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Crime and punishment


A new report, The Fraud ‘Justice Systems’: A Scoping Study on the Civil, Regulatory and Private Paths to ‘Justice’ for Fraudsters, recently launched by the Nuffield Foundation, highlights the complexity of fraud as a crime and its ‘peculiar nature’. 

Importantly, the report explores in detail three of the non-criminal paths to justice when dealing with fraudsters. 

Non-criminal paths to justice

When access to the criminal justice system is prevented or delayed, punishing fraudsters can be challenging. The nature, impact and response to fraud differs from many other crimes and the path to justice for victims is not limited to one route. 

In fact, there are several routes available and until now, there has been little research and investigation undertaken to understand them. They include: 

  • the use of contempt of court to deal with insurance fraudsters,
  • the use of regulatory bodies to discipline persons under their jurisdiction for fraudulent related offences, and
  • the use of private registers of offenders to deal with a variety of fraudsters.

Innovative solutions

The University of Portsmouth Centre for Counter Fraud Studies conducted the research and was led by Professor Mark Button, Dr David Shepherd and Dean Blackbourn.

Professor Mark Button explains; “This report highlights the innovative ways being used across all sectors to bring fraudsters to justice beyond the criminal justice system. It reveals that when confronted with a fraudster and where criminal prosecution is going to be difficult to achieve, there are other options to consider.

“For example, fraud could be used as evidence to discipline the offender and there are fraudster databases. These certainly play an important preventative role but can also be used as a form of punishment, which aids deterrence”.

The extent to which non-criminal measures have grown in recent years is significant. This is reflected in the report, which found that there are ‘thousands of people sanctioned outside the criminal justice system each year for fraud related offences; indeed, many more than are dealt with by the criminal justice system.’

Below is a useful list of fraudster databases from the report:

  • Cifas: Internal Fraud Database (a database of members of staff from member organisations who have been sacked for fraud related behaviours)
  • Cifas: National Fraud Database (a database member organisations’ customers who have made fraudulent applications for products, largely in financial services (loan, credit card applications etc.), telecommunications, retail, insurance and public sector)
  • Insurance Fraud Register (a database of member organisations’ customers who have made fraudulent insurance claims and/or applications)
  • National Hunter (a network of linked databases of members’ customers who have made fraudulent applications largely in the financial services sector)
  • Telecommunications UK Fraud Forum (a database of member organisations’ staff in the telecommunications sector who have been sacked for fraud)
  • Cabinet Office Public Sector Staff Fraud Database (not yet live, a new database of civil servants who have been sacked for fraud related behaviours)

The CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre welcomes this new report. It sheds light on a growing area of interest to the public sector namely, how should fraudsters and fraud-related behaviours be penalised when access to the criminal justice system is prevented. 

To download a copy of the full and summary reports relating to the research, click on the links below.

Download the reports

The Fraud Justice Systems full report Nov 2016

PDF 1682 KB

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The Fraud Justice Systems summary report Nov 2016

PDF 661 KB

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