Fraud is soaring in Scotland with figures for the first six months of this year already topping the total for 2003, according to a new survey.
The first six months of 2004 revealed that fraud reached £8.51m
The value of fraud reported up to the end of June was £8.51m - compared with the total of £7.21m reported in the whole of 2003.
The biggest fraudsters are management and organised criminals, who account for more than half of all such crimes.
The figures were published in the KPMG Forensics Fraud Barometer.
It focuses on "major" fraud cases where the charges are more than £100,000.
In Scotland there were seven reported significant fraud cases in the six months before 30 June this year, with a total value of £8,510,000.
In the same period last year the number of cases reported was 11, although the value was just £3,043,077.
The Scottish figures buck the UK-wide trend, which has seen the total value of fraud cases reaching court fall to £71m in the first half of 2004 - down from £158m in the last six months of 2003.
Included in the Scottish figures is a case relating to an action brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, legislation designed to confiscate criminal proceeds obtained through unlawful conduct, including fraud.
The case involved charges being raised for £4m in respect of money laundering offences.
The Fraud Barometer, published on Monday, revealed that 58% of fraud is committed by management and organised criminals.
It says management takes advantage of having the "inside track" on a business' workings while criminal syndicates exploit weaknesses in business controls.
Robin Crawford, head of KPMG Forensic in Scotland, said companies had to remain vigilant to avoid becoming the victims of fraud.
He said: "The figures in Scotland clearly show that fraud remains a growing problem
"No matter the size of the company, wherever there is a concentration of
specialised knowledge, controls should always be in place to segregate the
duties and responsibilities of those responsible for processing payments from
those who can authorise them to help stop fraud from occurring.
"Once again, many of the frauds in our survey clearly demonstrate the need
for companies to have a simple but well thought-out anti-fraud policy.
"The threat of fraud remains high from both within and outside a business.
From new employee vetting, to taking on new clients and business, it is
imperative that companies understand where they are vulnerable to fraud."
The report revealed local and national government were the biggest victims of
fraud with charges of more than £33m accounting for almost half of the total
UK amount (48%).
Financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies, were also targets
for fraudsters, with £7m of fraud committed.
In one case, three former bank messengers were caught taking £800,000 they
were supposed to burn.