Business crime is a wide-ranging term, but what all offences under this umbrella have in common is that they are treated extremely seriously under the law in England and Wales. The consequences of a conviction can be not only severe but life-changing – doing enormous damage to both your personal reputation and that of your business, and in some cases damaging your livelihood beyond repair.
Securing the services of an experienced solicitor with specialised expertise in the area of the offence in question is the most important thing you can do in the early stages of an investigation, and it could make all the difference to the ultimate outcome. At Lawtons our excellent team will meticulously examine the facts of your case to build the most robust defence possible on behalf of you or your business. If you are under investigation or have been arrested for a business crime, speak to us today by calling 0333 577 0522 without delay. We are here to guide you through the process ahead.
What is business crime?
Business crime, also known as white-collar crime, refers to a wide range of offences which can be committed in the course of conducting business, by organisations of any size. The term refers to non-violent forms of crime which are nonetheless highly damaging to affected parties and can leave individuals or other businesses severely financially disadvantaged.
Offences termed as business crime are often found to have been committed over long periods of time, and investigations can be extremely in-depth and complex in order to establish any wrongdoing.
What types of business crime are there?
There are many different offences which can be termed as types of business crime. Some of the most common examples include:
- Money laundering
- Competition and cartel offences
- Insider trading
- Tax crimes including HMRC offences
- Environmental crimes
- Cyber security crimes (under the Computer Misuse Act)
- Trade and export violations
Because business crime is an area encompassing many different types of offences, it is important to instruct a solicitor with experience and specialist knowledge of your particular area. At Lawtons we are able to provide experts in a huge range of business crime areas in order to provide the very best possible representation for your case.
Who investigates business crimes?
Aside from the police investigating the offence and the CPS prosecuting it, there are a number of other organisations and agencies that may become involved in both investigations and prosecutions in this area of the law.
These include the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), National Crime Agency (NCA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Financial Services Authority (FSA) and HMRC Special Compliance Office.
How is liability established when prosecuting business crimes?
Because of the complex nature of business crimes, it is often difficult to establish who is ultimately responsible for having committed the offence. For this reason, liability for companies convicted of business crimes is usually determined via two categories:
- Vicarious liability, which requires no element of intent, knowledge or dishonesty. These types of offences are based purely around easily provable facts such as the breaching of regulations.
- Non-vicarious liability, which requires prosecutors to identify and establish a “directing mind and will” (DMW) – somebody at the company who can be held responsible for the offence. This type requires an element of intent or dishonesty in order for liability to be proven.
What are the sentencing guidelines for business crimes?
Business and corporate crimes are sentenced in accordance with the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Depending on the offence, sentences can range from fines to custodial sentences. For example, the maximum sentence for bribery is 10 years in prison. The financial means of the offender may be taken into account where determining appropriate fines.
There may also be additional proceedings whereby an offender has assets confiscated if they are deemed to have been obtained as a result of the offence.
Speak to us today about business crime
Do not hesitate to get in touch with the expert team at Lawtons if you are suspected of being involved in any form of business crime. Take the first step towards safeguarding your reputation and your future by calling us now on 0333 577 0522.
FAQs about Business Crime
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What is a cartel offence?