Page last updated at 09:19 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 10:19 UK

Business fraud in UK 'rises 74%'

Man in handcuffs
Management fraud accounted for 46% of reported cases

Reported fraud committed against UK firms rose 74%, costing companies 705m in the first half of the year according to the accountants BDO Stoy Hayward.

Particularly hard hit were the banking and insurance sectors, where 90% of the fraud took place.

Greed was given as the motive in 36% of the cases, with debt the reason in 25% of cases and gambling at 24%.

BDO predicts that as economic conditions continue to deteriorate, UK business fraud will grow.

"The combination of spiralling personal debt and desperate employees spells real danger for business," said Simon Bevan, head of its fraud services team.

He warned that the actual level of fraud is likely to be significantly higher than the reported figures.

"What is really scary is that these figures don't even include losses that may have been incurred by rogue traders."

"When you add in the fraud that's not yet been uncovered, or which businesses have discovered but don't wish to expose, the real cost to UK industry could be much, much higher," he added.

The majority of frauds were committed by senior staff and regular suppliers, with management fraud accounting for 46% of cases, according to the report.

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