It is never a good day when your business is accused of fraudulent activity. Whether you are being accused of fraud concerning VAT returns, money laundering or corruption, such allegations are serious and have the potential to leave both you and your business in financial ruin.
While you may feel a personal responsibility to defend your business against such allegations, this is rarely wise; in the same way, you would be unlikely to defend yourself if you were accused of a criminal offence, defending your business yourself may actually worsen the situation and so, at the earliest opportunity, you should contact a fraud solicitor for advice.
Why should you contact a legal representative if you are innocent? Because it is proactive and your fraud solicitor will have the experience and knowledge that you need to save your business from any further legal recourse. It is in no way a sign of guilt to seek legal advice and it offers further advantages too.
A key benefit of seeking the advice of a fraud solicitor is that they will be able to offer you advice about the accusation and can offer you guidance on the next steps you need to take to defend your company. They will conduct interviews with you and other members of staff to assess the situation and will devise a plan to defend your business against the allegations.
Another advantage of hiring a solicitor when your business is accused of fraud is that they will be able to negotiate with the prosecuting bodies on behalf of your business. This will typically involve a series of meetings, during which time they will state your case and will advocate for a reduction in sentencing (if applicable) alongside negotiating for a reduction in any charges or fees that your company is required to pay. This not only saves you and your business a great deal of money, but it can also reduce any further legal action from taking place.
You know your business hasn’t committed any offence but your claims will still need to be investigated. And of course, this is another benefit of hiring a solicitor who specialises in this area; they will be able to spot any potential errors which may have been made leading to these accusations or may be able to dismiss them outright. If any errors are detected in your books or any fraudulent behaviour is spotted, they will be able to identify the person(s) responsible, which could save both you and your business in the long run.
If your business is taken to court over allegations of fraud, a solicitor will be able to prepare your case, using all of the correct language and terminology, giving you the best chance of having charges dropped.
Like the negotiation phase mentioned earlier, if you or your business is found guilty of committing fraud, a solicitor will be able to appeal to the authorities for a reduction in fees or prison time.