Fraudsters return to a life of crime in less than a year

Dozens of fraudsters in Lancashire went on to reoffend within the space of just one year, figures reveal.

By Simon Drury
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:52 pm
Dozens of Lancashire fraudsters return to ail within a year
Dozens of Lancashire fraudsters return to ail within a year

Fraud prevention group Cifas warned that the crime can be "devastating” for victims.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that 101 adults were released from prison, cautioned or handed a non-custodial conviction for fraud at court between July 2019 and June 2020 in Lancashire.

Of them, 24 (23.8%) committed at least one further crime within 12 months.

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A year previously, 28 out of 148 fraudsters reoffended.

Across England and Wales, around one in five fraud offenders reoffended within a year of their release or conviction in the year to June 2020 – compared to just 13.9% in the year to June 2010, when these figures began.

This rise was the second biggest of all types of crime, behind violent offences.

The MoJ warned that some prolific criminals might appear multiple times in the figures over a year if they repeatedly reoffend, which could lead to an increase in reoffending rates.

It added there might be more volatility in the data because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the criminal justice system.

Cifas, a not-for-profit fraud prevention membership organisation, said fraud can have a "devastating impact on victims".

Amber Burridge, head of fraud intelligence for Cifas, said: "The findings from a Victims’ Commissioner report in October 2021 shows that 1 in 5 fraud victims are highly vulnerable having lost money or property and experienced severe or multiple emotional reactions such as anxiety or depression.

"Often people feel ashamed and embarrassed about being a victim to fraud and may be susceptible to further scams that claim to help you get your money back as they try to deal with it alone.

"This is not something you have to struggle with on your own."

She added that any victims of financial fraud should report it and let their bank know immediately.

Nationally, 25.8% of people reoffended in the most recent annual period – down slightly from 27.4% the year before.

People released from prison, cautioned or handed a non-custodial conviction for theft offences had the highest rates of reoffending – 47.9%.

In Lancashire, 24.2% of all offenders broke the law again within a year – down from 25.8% the year before.