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The changing face of modern day business crime

Along with the ever-present threat of burglaries and break-ins, businesses must now be mindful of modern-day dangers too such as cybercrime. But according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Justice, white-collar cases continue to prove equally problematic, with 9,401 cases prosecuted in 2015.

Earlier this year, the government revealed that new laws are being considered as part of a crackdown on corporate economic crime. It also asked whether further reform is needed to combat corporate criminality following fraudulent and dishonest activity by some banks and other commercial organisations.

Defining and determining white-collar crime

White-collar crime can be defined as:

“A crime, especially a non-violent, financial crime, committed by a white-collar worker, typically involving the abuse of his or her professional status or expertise.”

 In order to prevent such abuses of power and position, the Serious Fraud Office wants to the ability to prosecute up to the level of counterparts in the USA. For example a ‘vicarious’ liability offence would make companies guilty through the actions of their staff without the need to prove complicity.

Commenting on potential new laws, Justice Minister Sir Oliver Heald QC said: “Corporate economic crime undermines confidence in business, distorts markets, and erodes trust. Companies must be held to account for the criminal activity that takes place within them.

“I want to restore public faith in business and make sure we have the right tools available to crack down on corporate criminality.”

Preventing white-collar and corporate crime

 For businesses wanting to prevent white-collar crime, the most effective course of action is to come up with a pro-active plan, which aims to identify and mitigate any threats before they can develop and cause serious damage.

If the issue is to do with internal employees, you could put limits on financial authorisation or have an independent accountant perform audits. When it comes to suppliers or vendors, create a fraud awareness program for employees and a policy where approval is needed before making purchases.

It is also imperative that businesses hit with cash-flow problems be honest about their finances, as any stretching of the truth or ‘cooking the books’ may reach fraudulent representation.

If you would like to discuss the security threats facing your business, contact us today for advice and recommendations. Our security teams act as a safeguard for data, property and personnel, effectively protecting your business and its finances.

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