For any business, reputation is key to success, and at Lester Aldridge, we understand that you’ll want disputes resolved swiftly, especially those involving money.
Don’t let the thought of dealing with the police or Serious Fraud Office worry you, we’re used to talking to them on behalf of our clients and would be able to do the same for you. So, whatever your situation, we have specialist money crime lawyers to walk you through the process, reduce the stress and create cost-effective solutions that are right for you and your business.
How can our money crime solicitors help?
Money crime is varied, but if you’re a private or commercial client we’ll be able to help you with matters including:
- Bribery and corruption
- Money laundering
- Proceeds of crime issues, such as restraint, confiscation and civil recovery
- Financial reporting or serious crime prevention orders or debarment
Even if there is no ongoing investigation or prosecution, we can also help you put policies in place to protect your business. We’ve been asked to do this for more and more clients since the introduction of the anti-bribery legislation, so we’re experienced and knowledgeable about how this can work for you.
What is the process for a fraud, bribery or money crime case?
No two cases are the same, and the advice which we give you will necessarily be directed at your particular circumstances. In general terms, cases typically go through these stages:
- Investigation: although this is the time when the SFO or police is considering what action to take, we find that we can provide very useful advice to clients if instructed at an early stage. That then helps you to lay the groundwork to protect your position as far as possible. This includes advising about what information needs to be provided to those investigating criminal offences, and what information should be provided by them to you. We also provide advice during interviews under caution, whether those take place at a police station or in writing.
- Interim orders: the effect of a restraint order (or an interim freezing order in civil proceedings) can be crippling for you and your business. Our regulation and business crime team can guide you through this technical area of law in order to try and minimise the impact.
- Decision on the method of enforcement action (if any): in some cases, particularly those in which we have been involved early, we have helped to achieve success for clients in preventing any action being taken at all. In other cases, other sorts of sanctions may be deployed, such as deferred prosecution agreements.
- Prosecution: if a criminal case is commenced, we advise clients about the prospect of being convicted of alleged offences, and keep that advice under review as the case progresses. That is especially important as evidence and other documents are disclosed, or as evidence is gathered on your behalf. In turn, that then means that you are able at each stage to make informed choices about the way forward. Of course, we also deal with any questions of bail and generally with preparation for trial.
- Sentencing and other orders: we advise as a matter of course on likely penalties in the event of a conviction. Should that stage be reached, we find that we can add value in terms of considering clients’ finances, advancing mitigation on their behalf, dealing with Proceeds of Crime Act issues and providing representation in terms of ancillary orders which a court may make.
- Appeals: our team has dealt with appeals at every level, including in the Court of Appeal and former House of Lords. We are therefore well placed to advise about appeals against conviction or sentence.
How does it take?
The length of time a case lasts is usually dictated by the speed of the investigation and the timetable imposed by the court.