Have you been the victim of a fraud?
In the murky world of online investment schemes, it can take time establish whether you have been a victim of a fraud. Schemes are often sophisticated and/or have a veneer of respectability. Once you realise that you may have been defrauded, you turn to the police for help, but often the only remedy is to submit an online report through the ‘Action Fraud’ website (which in and of itself is very unlikely to result in the recovery of funds). You turn for help to the bank, but find that the door is similarly closed because it is not willing to divulge confidential information about the person who defrauded you.
How do you know if a scheme is fraudulent?
This can be difficult question to answer. Generally speaking, you should avoid investing money with online entities unless they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You should research the institutions with whom you invest and ensure that they have a verifiable presence which is demonstrable by reference to and from third parties. You should avoid any entity which advertises ‘guaranteed’ incomes or returns. Ideally, you should seek advice from an FCA authorsied independent financial adviser.
What do I do if I am suspicious that a scheme I have invested in is fraudulent?
Sometimes it will become obvious that a scheme is fraudulent (e.g. news reports or a complete lack of contact). On other occasions the signs might be less obvious, and you may simply have a creeping doubt. In either case, you should seek urgent legal advice. Time is normally of the essence: i.e. the more time that passes, the less chance there will be that you recover some or any of your money.
What should I do if I have been the victim of a fraud?
If you think you may have been the victim of a fraud, you should immediately cease to make any further payments to the entity in question. You should never make payments on the basis you are being told that to do so will ‘release’ your original investment or qualify you for a greater payout. You should seek legal advice before taking any further action.
As above, you should seek urgent legal advice from specialist solicitors.
What can a solicitor do for me?
This is likely to depend on a number of different factors. However, a solicitor should be able to advise you in the first instance whether it is likely that you have been the victim of a fraud. They can then look into the business (and/or individuals behind it) and establish whether it is possible to pursue it in the civil courts for recovery. If that is not possible, then we can target individuals who could be held responsible for fraudulent activity under the veil of a corporate entity.
Is it necessary to prove that a scheme is fraudulent?
Not necessarily (and this can sometimes be difficult to establish on evidence). There are strict laws regarding the running of investment schemes (principally in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000) and unauthroised investments schemes may be unlawful per se. This may mean that you are automatically entitled to pursue the recovery of money that you have put into the scheme through the civil courts.
Am I not just throwing more good money after bad?
This is a very important consideration. It will be largely dependent on the extent of your loss and what we are able to advise you about the prospect of successfully enforcing any judgment in a civil court. This is all about the identification of assets and how many other potential creditors there are. If we are able to identify assets against which to enforce and your losses are substantial, it may be appropriate to apply for a freezing injunction without notice to the individual responsible for defrauding you. This is an expensive process, but you may be able to recover your legal costs if this application is successful and there are sufficient assets.
What if I need confidential information from the bank?
If your money has been diverted away from its intended destination or you need confidential information from a bank, then it is possible to seek an Order for that information from the High Court. Where there is no other means of obtaining information of this nature and it is required for a potential claim, the High Court has jurisdiction to make a ‘Norwich Pharmacal’ Order requiring the bank (or other institution) to disclose confidential information. Again, you should seek advice about this.
Why instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
Our London-based team of litigation solicitors is highly experienced in the recovery of assets from fraudsters. We will give you practical and realistic advice about your prospects of recovering your losses. If we advise you to proceed, then we will assemble the best possible team with which to attack your case. Our specialist civil fraud solicitors have extensive experience in providing expert legal advice and representation for victims of fraud and have a proven track record of recovering funds.
How do I Instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
You should contact one of our team to discuss your case and arrange a preliminary consultation. At the consultation we will advise you on the proceedings, talk through the relevant practical and legal issues, and set out your options. We will review relevant documentation ahead of the consultation. The consultation will help you understand your position and allow you to make an informed decision about what action to take. We will provide you with details of our fee structure.
Consultations take place in our London offices or by Teams/Zoom/Skype or telephone. We can also travel to you.
To request a consultation please send us an email, complete our online enquiry form or call us on 020 7183 8950. If emailing or using the online form, please provide a short outline of your situation.
Details of the cost of a consultation will be provided following your enquiry.