The value of UK fraud has jumped by 538% over the past 15 years, according to BDO. The accountancy and business advisory firm says the total value of fraud is also up 6.5% versus 2016.
Fraud has risen 538% to £2.11bn in the past 15 years and is up 6.5% from £1.99bn in 2016.
Many of the cases are tax related, ranging from a value of £58k to £21m.
Research from BDO identified London and the South East as the main hotspot for UK fraud, where the number of cases surged by 30% to 176 during 2017.
“Recent HMRC statistics revealed that in 2017 their specialist tax fraud investigations have led to over 750 individuals being convicted and they have charged suspects in over 1,000 new cases of tax fraud. HMRC clearly wants to investigate and convict tax fraudsters using their full range of powers,” commented Dawn Register, Tax Dispute Resolution Partner at BDO.
However, last week, Commander David Clark, the police officer who heads up economic crime for the City of London Police, claimed an overload of documentary evidence was delaying investigations, meaning the authorities sometimes have to wait years before charges are brought against offenders.
BOD said one of the biggest frauds of 2017 included a family of VAT scammers who stole £45m from taxpayers and lavished it on a fleet of luxury cars, race horses, gambling trips to Las Vegas and mansions around the world.
The report also highlighted celebrity-related frauds, including a £100m tax scam in which 730 celebrities were conned into believing they were investing in cutting-edge research and development reforestation projects in Brazil and China.