Corporate and individual offending

The sentencing council have now published a guide to sentencing individuals or corporate bodies for offences of Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering. These came into effect across England and Wales from 1st October 2014 and apply to anyone being sentenced on or after that date.

Definitive guidelines for fraud already exist and were published in October 2009. However, the new guidelines are the first to consider sentencing in relation to Bribery and Money Laundering.

It was hoped the Sentencing Council would provide guidance for the introduction of Deferred Prosecution Agreement’s (DPA) which were brought into force on 24th February 2014. However, as the Council’s remit is to issue guidance post-conviction this was outside their statutory function. For more insights from JMW on the impact of DPAs, read our full article here.

We are sure the new sentencing guidelines in respect of corporate offending will serve as a useful tool in setting an appropriate level of financial penalty contained within any proposed DPA.

In October 2009, the sentencing council published a definitive guideline to sentencing in relation to the following offences:

  • Confidence fraud - s.1 Fraud Act 2006, s.17 Theft Act 1968
  • Possessing, making or supplying articles for the use in fraud - ss.2, 6 and 7 Fraud Act 2006
  • Banking and insurance fraud, and obtaining credit through fraud - s.1 Fraud Act 2006, s.17 Theft Act 1968
  • Benefit fraud - s.1 Fraud Act 2000, s.17 Theft Act 1968, s.35 Tax Credits Act 2002, ss.111A(1), 111(1A), 111(1B), 111(1D) and 111(1E) Social Security Administration Act 1992
    Value Added Tax Act 1994, ss.72(1), 72(3), and 72(8) Finance Act 2000, s.144Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, ss.170(1)(a)(i) and (ii), 170(1)(b), 170(2)(a), 170B, 50(1)(a), and 50(2).

The guideline excluded the offences of conspiracy to defraud and cheating the public revenue, generally more serious and unusual types of cases. This was due to the likelihood of such offences attracting sentences greater than the statutory maximum. Therefore in sentencing for these offences, attention is drawn to the existing guidance set by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

To read more, click here to download our PDF on the new corporate offending guidelines. You can also visit our criminal defence services page to find out more about the legal guidance we can offer in this area.

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