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The punishments for business fraud in the UK

The Fraud Act of 2006, which came into force in January 2007, applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and repeals all previous theft acts. It replaces them with the single offence of fraud, and denotes that this could be committed in one of three ways: false representation, failure to disclose information when there's a legal duty to do so, and abuse of position. This article will discuss the penalties for these offences.

The main elements of fraud

Fraud contrary to Section 1
False representation, failure to disclose information when there is a legal duty to do so, and abuse of position constitute fraud. The maximum penalty is
10 years' imprisonment. False representation
False representation must be present for fraud to have been committed. In most cases, this is the same as deception under the old Theft Act offences. Prosecutors need to analyse the representation and when it was made. Failure to disclose information
Focus will be on the assertion that there was a legal duty to disclose information. The precise relationship that gave rise to that duty and the information is alleged the defendant failed to disclose. Abuse of position
The judge will look at the nature of the relationship and of the specific abuse. If there is more than one instance or variety of abuse, more charges may arise.

Other fraudulent acts

Possessions of articles
The elements of the offence are that the defendant had possession or control of an article for use in the course of or in connection with any fraud. The maximum penalty is five years' imprisonment. Making or supplying
If the defendant makes, adapts, supplies or offers to supply any article for use in the course of or in connection with fraud, knowing that it is designed or adapted for use in the course of or in connection with fraud, intending it to be used to commit or assist in the commission of fraud. The maximum penalty is
10 years' imprisonment. Participation in fraudulent business
A defendant will commit an offence if he is knowingly being party to the carrying on of a company's business with intent to defraud creditors of any person or for any other fraudulent purpose. The maximum penalty is 10 years' imprisonment for such a business scam. Obtaining services dishonestly
The defendant is guilty if it is proved he obtained - for himself or another
- services dishonestly, knowing the services were made available on the basis that payment had been, is being or will be made for or in respect of them, or that they might be, and avoids or intends to avoid payment in full or in part. The maximum penalty is five years' imprisonment for the fraudster.

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