Scams and fraud surge in recession
Austerity cutbacks and pressures at work have caused a surge in scams against the Government and fraud committed by employees, according to a survey.
It revealed that around 80% of fraud-related financial losses within firms was caused by either management or employees last year.
There was also a marked rise in benefit fraud and tax evasion, while identity fraud more than doubled to £26.3 million and counterfeit goods fraud was three times the five-year average at £22.9 million.
So-called Ponzi schemes - an investment fraud where returns are paid to its investors from their own money or from other investors' cash rather than from profit earned - more than trebled to £72 million.
KPMG said there was a fall in the number of cases and value of fraud committed by professional criminals in 2012, to 79 in 2012 from 98 at the end of 2011. But the survey of fraud cases in UK Crown Courts suggested "the old-fashioned conman hasn't given up his tricks", said KPMG UK forensic partner Hitesh Patel.
He said: "What we are seeing is individuals looking to feather their nests through ripping off employers, banks or the Government. Times may be tough, but the data shows that some people are unwilling to give up the lifestyles they've become accustomed to."
The survey found that insider fraud has been responsible for bringing some firms to their knees. In one case highlighted in the research, a finance department employee stole hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund an extravagant lifestyle. The discovery led to the company being placed into administration and the loss of all 20 of her colleagues' jobs.
Last year also saw a leap in benefit fraud and tax evasion - with 15 cases compared with three in 2011.