Page last updated at 23:28 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 00:28 UK

Concern over rising fraud cases

The credit crunch is being blamed for a rise in fraud cases

More than 22m worth of fraud in 12 cases reached Scottish courts in the last six months, figures show.

Accountancy firm KPMG warned that the statistics are likely to get worse as the full impact of the credit crunch sets in.

The figures compare with 2.7m worth of fraud brought to the courts in seven cases in the same period last year.

KMPG said banks were increasingly becoming a target, with mortgage fraud starting to make an impact.

'Substantial losses'

Ken Milliken, head of KPMG Scotland's forensic team, said: "These are worrying indicators. Fraud remains extremely prevalent in the UK and across Scotland, with professional gangs accounting for over two-thirds by value, ranging 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 the signs are that organised criminals and syndicates have been relentless in their efforts.

"Mortgage fraud cases have started to come through in the courts too, and it seems likely that there will be many more to come.

"The cases in this period's fraud barometer largely predate the credit crunch in terms of when the frauds were committed."

He added: "The fear is that we will not see the real and full fraud impact of the crunch for another six or 12 months, or even more, as businesses start to take a closer look at their operations in this difficult economic climate.

"The signs are that we could end up seeing some substantial losses being suffered."

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