Conspiracy to Defraud Solicitors
Essentially this is where two or more people plan to commit an offence. Conspiracy can relate to numerous offences from Murder to theft.
It is an offence to conspire, or plan with one or more people (apart from your spouse) to defraud others, that is to say cause economic loss. It is only an offence if you intend to do an act that will further the criminal purpose. The offence is in making an agreement but it is also a requirement that the parties intend to carry out their agreement. You will be guilty even if the parties do not carry out their agreement and even if the substantive offence is not committed by anyone.
It is a defence to show that you did not know that the purpose was criminal. The case of R V Saik made this clear. The defendant was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. He argued that he did not know, although suspected, that the money he was exchanging was the proceeds of crime. The Court said that –
“He cannot be said to be guilty of the conspiracy to commit the substantive offence under section 93C(2) because he did not know, and therefore did not intend, that the money which he agreed to convert would be the proceeds of crime when at some future date he came to perform his part of the agreement.”
These cases can only be heard at the Crown Court. It carries up to 10 years in prison.
The biggest factor that the courts will look at in sentencing is the amount of money involved. They will look at the persons level of involvement in the offence, whether they played a leading role down to situations where they got involved through coercion or intimidation. Anything involving over £5000 will likely result in a prison sentence unless you can show you were coerced into it.
These matters are often very complex and involve a detailed approach to it. We have a large team of expert barristers that we work with on a regular basis.
If you are being investigated in relation to an allegation of conspiracy to defraud it is important to get us involved from the outset. We can often avoid you facing a charge.
We will give you an honest assessment of the prospects of success. Even if you have to plead guilty it is important that you are properly represented as this can make a big difference to sentence and can reduce any sentences by a number of years.
For free and honest initial advice call us on 01623 397200