MAJOR fraud cases in Yorkshire have doubled in value, it was revealed today.
Fourteen cases of large-scale fraud – involving £100,000 or more – came to court in the first six months of 2008, according to a company’s “fraud barometer’’.
Accountants KPMG said the cases were valued at £13.58m. This was more than double the £6.6m value recorded in the previous six months.
Cases included a 17-strong group who stole £4.8m over 18 months from banks in a fraud involving hundreds of cheques and stolen IT equipment.
In another case two Leeds brothers defrauded the taxpayer of benefits valued at £225,000.
And a York businessman whose two businesses collapsed with debts of £1.2m was jailed for three years for breaking investment regulations.
KPMG said that nationally fraud values rose by 50% to £630m in the first half of 2008, with banks being hit to the tune of £350m.
There were 128 cases before the courts, as against 91 during the previous six months, when frauds were valued at £421m.
Vivien Osborne, a spokeswoman for KPMG in Yorkshire, said: “Fraud remains extremely prevalent in the UK, with professional gangs accounting for over two-thirds by value. These range from investment stings to trading scams, card fraud and money laundering.
“Banks are working extremely hard to protect themselves and their customers from fraudulent activity, but organised criminals and syndicates have been relentless.
“Mortgage fraud cases have started to come through in the courts too and it seems likely that there will be many more.”
Ms Osborne added: “The ingenuity and audacity of fraudsters often simply catches people off-guard. That is why companies and individuals need to be fully alert.’’