Members of St Pauls Chambers are well-versed in the intricacies of charity fraud cases. If you are being investigated for charity fraud, it’s important to seek advice from specialist charity scams barristers.

What is Charity Fraud?

Charity fraud is a blanket term for various incidents that involve fraudulent behaviour relating to charity and is part of the broader area of fraud law. Fraud by a charity in the UK is a serious offence and can be either internal or external. In internal charity fraud cases, employees, volunteers or trustees are typically the culprits. However, external charity scams may be carried out by fake charities frauding the public or fake companies frauding the charity.

Internal Charity Fraud Cases

These are some common examples of internal fundraising scams:

  • Misuse of funds – Charity embezzlement or misuse of funds occurs when someone working within a charity handles charity funds dishonestly. This could include stealing charity money or using credit cards for unauthorised payments. Learn more about bank transfer fraud in our blog post.
  • False expense claims – False expense claims are a type of payroll fraud that occurs when expenses are incorrectly claimed for more money than was spent, siphoning funds from the charity into personal accounts.
  • Abuse of position – This form of charity fraud describes an incident where an employee may abuse their position of power or trust to manipulate finances or other staff members to commit money laundering or charity embezzlement.
  • Poor internal procedures – Having a weak internal financial policy and poor financial checking procedures can make charities vulnerable to internal charity fraud.

External Charity Fraud Cases

External acts of charity scams include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

  • Invoice fraud – Invoice fraud involves external activity whereby fraudsters pose as suppliers and send invoices to charities. The charity then intends to pay their supplier but, unknowingly, pays the fraudster instead.
  • Unauthorised funding – Unauthorised funding happens when individuals pretend they are raising funds for a charity, convincing members of the public to donate to a legitimate cause, only to keep the money for themselves.
  • Cyber fraud – This type of charity fraud can include phishing emails, impersonation, or hacking a computer or network in an attempt to obtain a charity’s sensitive data or access funds. You can learn more about online banking scams and advance fee scams here.

Charity Fraud Court Process

If you have been accused of defrauding a charity, you may have already been charged or arrested. Whatever situation you may find yourself in, the legal process for dealing with charity fraud cases can be lengthy and intimidating. Charity scams are taken very seriously, and, as a defendant, it is important to know your options. The law around charity fraud complies with the Charities Act 2011 and is complex. Therefore, we would strongly urge you to seek legal counsel and representation from a well-versed lawyer in this area of law.

The process begins with a report to the police, Action Fraud or the Charity Commission from someone suspecting foul play. Suspected charity scams are then investigated by the police and possibly by the charity commission; this can include financial experts who are given access to accounts and conduct within the charity.

As well as the inspection of records and devices, each person that works for the charity will be interviewed by the Charity Commission to collect necessary evidence.

In the event of confirmed charity fraud, the suspected perpetrator is arrested and charged, followed by an interview conducted by the police. Depending on the evidence found, a court case follows.

Charity Fraud Sentencing

If you are found guilty of charity scams, you could face anything between three months and ten years in prison. You may also be required to return the funds you stole. Sentencing in charity fraud cases depends on the particulars of the crime, which is why we advise defendants to seek legal counsel from an expert in charity fraud cases. Your conviction for charity fraud will go on your criminal record, and the length of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Have You Been Accused of Charity Fraud?

Seek professional advice from the outset if you are unsure how to avoid charity fraud when setting up a charity. Ensure that you keep all relevant documents from accountants, banks or solicitors. Such documentation can prove to be compelling evidence to demonstrate your genuine motivation and intention when setting up and operating your charity. It is advisable to seek expert legal advice before any police interview on allegations of charity or fundraising scams.

At St Pauls Chambers, our specialist barristers are experts in charity fraud cases. We can advise you on the investigative process of charity scams and provide comprehensive support throughout. If you or your client faces a charity scam investigation, contact us today.

“The clerking team is responsive, extremely approachable and knowledgeable”

The Legal 500

Get in touch

For further information and enquiries please contact our clerks team.

Charity Fraud Barristers

Sam Green KC

Sam Green KC

Joint Head of Chambers

Call: 1998 Silk: 2015

Nigel Sangster KC

Nigel Sangster KC

Call: 1976 Silk: 1998

Richard Barraclough KC

Richard Barraclough KC

Call: 1980 Silk: 2003

Simon Myerson KC

Simon Myerson KC

Call: 1986 Silk: 2003

Jane Bewsey KC

Jane Bewsey KC

Call: 1986 Silk: 2010

John Harrison KC

John Harrison KC

Call: 1994 Silk: 2016

Jonathon Sandiford KC St Pauls Chambers

Jonathan Sandiford KC

Call: 1992 Silk: 2020

Cameron Brown KC

Cameron Brown KC

Call: 1998 Silk: 2020

Nicholas Worsley KC

Nicholas Worsley KC

Call: 1998 Silk: 2023

Denise Breen-Lawton

Denise Breen-Lawton

Joint Head of Chambers

Call: 2000

Jeremy Barnett

Jeremy Barnett

Call: 1980

Derek Duffy

Derek Duffy

Call: 1997

Alasdair Campbell

Alasdair Campbell

Call: 1999

James Bourne-Arton

James Bourne-Arton

Call: 2001

Danielle Graham

Danielle Graham

Call: 2003

Hal Watson

Hal Watson

Call: 2003

James Lake

James Lake

Call: 2005

Helen Chapman

Helen Chapman

Call: 2006

Hannah Hinton

Hannah Hinton

Call: 2008

Angus MacDonald

Angus MacDonald

Call: 2009

George Hazel-Owram

George Hazel-Owram

Call: 2012

Kristina Goodwin

Kristina Goodwin

Call: 2013

Contact Us

Chambers is centrally located within walking distance of the train station, secure car parks and the Courts.

Contact Us

St Pauls Chambers
Park Row House
19-20 Park Row
Leeds
LS1 5JF

For out of hours assistance please call the senior clerk on 07854170429.

The switchboard will open from 08:30 until 17:30

Phone: +44 (0)1132 455 866
Email: [email protected]
CJSM: [email protected]

Portfolio Builder

Select the expertise that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

Download    Add to portfolio   
Portfolio
Title Type CV Email

Remove All

Download


Click here to share this shortlist.
(It will expire after 30 days.)