New-style scam alert warning

An outsourced compliance service provider has warned of a new-style scam they have intercepted involving criminals impersonating the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The methodology involves individuals contacting law firms alleging to be from the SRA and asking to attend their offices onsite for a “pre audit meeting.” Contact is made via phone call from a […]

The Legal Sector Faces “Unprecedented Levels of Fraud” in 2023

The legal sector in the UK has been warned to brace itself for an increase in fraud cases in 2023, following the largest ever fraud operation by the police, involving tens of thousands of suspected criminals across the globe. The operation was successful in dismantling an international fraud website known as iSpoof, which was being […]

How UWOs help in the fight against money laundering


Unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) were introduced four years ago to help tackle the problem of money laundering by high-net worth individuals, often with foreign and political connections. The concept of recovery of criminal proceeds has persisted in the UK for some time. Tools such as a civil recovery order have been available and commonly used […]

Consultation could pave the way for APP fraud refunds

A consultation from the Payment Systems Regulator could see legislation introduced forcing banks to refund those affected by authorised push payment (APP) fraud. APP fraud is typically perpetrated by criminals impersonating trusted individuals and organisations in order to trick people into authorising a payment to an account controlled by a criminal. The criminals will send […]

4 common ways criminals launder money

Money laundering costs the British economy around £37 billion each year. And with the legal sector under increasing scrutiny (and SRA site visits happening right now) it’s something firms should be placing front and centre of their risk planning. A review by the SRA into law firm AML compliance identified the failure to introduce “proper […]

Firms urged to review password hygiene as UK sees 116% increase in nuisance comms

New data from recent reports suggests that despite increased warnings to businesses and individuals to review cyber security measures, phishing scams and nuisance attacks are on the rise.  A report released by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in conjunction with litigation firm Griffin Law, reveals that in the first six months of 2021 UK […]

HMRC investigates 3,574 IHT accounts in bid to claw back revenue

Law firm Pinsent Masons confirms that HMRC opened 3,574 investigations into Inheritance Tax (IHT) in 2020-21 resulting in £254 million in revenue. The firm also revealed that more people are now filing their own returns rather than seeking professional IHT advice in a bid to cut down expenses. But with more scope for error, HMRC […]

Current AML regime “does little to prevent money laundering”

Changes to the money laundering regulations should focus on increasing the effectiveness of efforts to tackle money laundering through a more risk-based and proportionate approach, said the Law Society of England and Wales in response to HM Treasury’s (HMT) call for evidence. The Call for Evidence is now closed and will consider the overall effectiveness […]

£8 million lost in charity fraud over the last 12 months

The Charity Commission is today warning charity leaders to protect their organisations against fraud and cybercrime, after new figures show charities reported almost £8.6 million of lost funds in the last financial year. This latest data from Action Fraud also shows 1,059 separate incidents of fraud were reported by charities in just one year from […]

Failure to introduce “proper risk assessments” number one AML failure

A review completed by the Solicitors Regulations Authority into law firm anti-money laundering failures has identified a 40% increase in the number of potential AML breaches reported to the SRA, with the number one area of non-compliance is not having a proper risk assessment in place for AML matters. The SRA has published its first […]

AML update – are you keeping up to date!

Access Legal’s latest quarterly AML update webinar is being held on 14 October 2021 at 12.30pm, and as usual we will be joined by Bill Jones, a financial crime specialist. With Natwest Bank facing a substantial fine for AML non-compliance, the release of the Pandora papers, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority launching investigations into 10% […]

Charity fraud awareness week – 18 – 22 October 2021

Charity Fraud Awareness Week is coming up from 18th to 22nd October. Now in its sixth year, the week brings together everyone within the sector to talk about fraud, aiming to raise awareness of the an ever-evolving and increasing threat to everyone of online fraud and cyber crime. Brought together by the Fraud Advisory Panel […]

Solicitor duped by fraudster client fined by SRA

The SRA has reprimanded and fined a solicitor who inadvertently helped a client to commit theft. The incident, which took place at the North East firm SJ Palin & Co Solicitors, caused the SRA to publish a decision notice explaining the event, rebuking the firm’s sole practitioner Mr Palin in the process. An unnamed client […]

Cryptocurrency and Inheritance: What Investors Need to Know

Despite the often volatile nature of cryptocurrency, there is no denying that this form of digital currency has made huge strides over the past decade.  Once considered a fad or even a scam, the global blockchain market is now expected to be worth over 57 million US dollars by 2025. In June, the Financial Conduct […]

Metadata proves Will forgery in recent High Court case

A recent case has highlighted the importance of examining metadata in potential incidents of Will forgery. The case of Rainey v Weller & Ors [2021] EWHC 2206 (Ch) involved the family of the deceased Brenda Weller and a dispute surrounding her Will. Weller’s niece and three of her grandchildren had disagreed over the validity and […]

Industry figures raise fraud flag with LPA consultation

Industry figures have raised concerns about proposals to reform Lasting Powers of Attorney, suggesting that the digitisation of the process opens to door to fraud and alienates the most vulnerable. The consultation proposes to review how to increase safeguards, especially for the donor improve the process of making and registering an LPA for donors, attorneys […]

Impersonation fraud losses rocket

The scale of criminal activity which leads to financial loss has been laid bare by UK Finance’s half year fraud update. In total £753.9 million was stolen through fraud, an increase of 30 per cent compared to the same period last year. As banks improve their security measures, for the first time Authorised Push Payment (APP) […]

Work to be done on supervision of AML regime

The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) has released its latest report on progress made in tackling money laundering by regulators over the past year. While this year’s report acknowledges that professional body supervisors (PBSs) within the accountancy and legal sectors have improved, it highlights differing levels of achievement and “significant weaknesses in […]

UK bank account fraud 25% up year on year

New research from Experian has revealed that bank account fraud is now tracking at its highest level for more than three years. Drawing on the latest data from the National Hunter Fraud Prevention Service, the analysis uncovered an alarming surge in fraudulent activity targeting British businesses and consumers. The fraud rate for current accounts rose […]

Retired solicitor imprisoned and struck-off for taking £275k from client’s estate

A retired solicitor has been sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment and been struck-off by the SRA for taking £275,000 from a deceased client’s estate and transferring it into his own bank account. The Lancashire-based former solicitor, Andrew Eastham was an executor on a will drawn almost 30 years ago. Following the death of his client […]