Doorstep Crime / Rogue Trader Activity
Rogue Traders Rogue Traders come in many shapes and sizes. They can be: • Uninvited cold callers purporting to carry out home improvement and gardening work • Telephone and Internet There is a strong correlation between Distraction Burglars and Bogus Builders/Doorstep Conmen
What the Team can do • Work across the whole of Wales • Regional representation in each force area • Established links with regions in England and Scotland • Working with referrals from the 22 Local Authorities in Wales into cross border criminality • Vulnerable Interviews
Offender Profile. The offenders work as a team of two or more Travel the country choosing areas with a high population of older residents. Choose areas with easy access to main or arterial roads Are taught their craft by their elders often from a very early age Live in a patriarchal hierarchical society Are known to share information about suitable targets and areas.
These offenders know that the notion of carrying out some work is often enough to muddy the waters and confuse attending officers into thinking that the matter is ‘civil’ and doesn’t warrant investigation.
But Rogue trader incidents are likely to feature Trading Standards offences as well as Fraud, Criminal Damage, Blackmail, Robbery, Burglary and Kidnapping.
And •The majority of doorstep crime victims are elderly (average age 81), living in social isolation.
•The offenders create fear of the consequences of not having the work done •They prey on the loneliness of the victim •Often do not give the victim a choice as they just turn up and start work
Statistics from Operation Liberal state that • In the two years following a Distraction Burglary the victims are almost 2.5 times more likely to be in residential care or have died. • In the three months following the incident 10% of victims have unexplained admissions to hospital. • Older victims of distraction burglary decline in health faster than their non-victim peers. 40% of victims reported a change in their quality of life. But most worryingly, almost two thirds (63%) were repeat victims
FRAUD ACT 2006:
Other offences to consider are:
New offence of fraud, which can be committed in three ways:
Possession of articles intended for use in Fraud - S.6
Fraud by false representation S.2
Applies anywhere and includes any article found, e.g. correspondence, tools and vehicles.
Lying about something using any means, e.g. by stating a roof is in dangerous condition and needs repair when it is perfectly fine. Fraud by failing to disclose - S.3 Not saying something when you have a legal duty to do so, e.g. a cold calling home maintenance trader not giving proper cancellation notice. Fraud by abuse of position - S.4 Abusing a position of trust where there is an expectation to safeguard the financial interests of another person / organisation.
Obtaining services dishonestly S.11 e.g. using a stolen credit card
POINTS TO REMEMBER
Making or supplying articles for use in Fraud - S.7
All offences occur where the act or omission is committed dishonestly and with intent to cause gain or loss. Gain or loss only needs intent. All Fraud Act offences are indictable.
Must know or intend the article to be used to commit or facilitate fraud, e.g. supplying emblems to a counterfeit t-shirt supplier.
The new offences replace the old:
Fraudulent business carried out by sole trader - S.9 Now includes individuals, partnerships and trusts.
Obtaining property / services by deception. Obtaining pecuniary advantage. Procuring execution of a valuable security. Evading liability. Obtaining a money transfer.
So you’ve arrested a rogue trader for a fraud or trading related offence. What else can you consider? How about this…
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Money Laundering The offences are: • S.327 - Concealing, disguising, converting, transferring, or removing criminal property • S.328 - Arranging to facilitate to acquire, retain, use or control of criminal property by, or on behalf of another person • S. 329 - Acquisition, use and possession of criminal property You are most likely to come across S.329 where an offender is simply in possession of cash / cheques (the proceeds of crime). However, rogue traders and offenders committing fraud and trading related offences may well be committing offences under S.327 and S.328 as well Criminal property is: property that the alleged offender knows or suspects constitutes or represents benefit from any criminal conduct (not only money) Remember any offender who has benefited from the offences committed could qualify for confiscation Think ……….. Proceeds of Crime, Money Laundering and Confiscation
• To date we have interviewed 20 vulnerable/intimidated witnesses in their homes. • This involves almost £400,000 worth of criminality. • 3 of these victims have since died. • Their evidence is still available for court proceedings
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• (M) 07792 193280