Recent case highlights importance of source of wealth investigation

Tom Lyes Interview

Last week the NCA published news of a mother and her two UK-based sons agreeing to hand over their London properties worth more than £1.6 million, in response to a NCA civil recovery claim that linked their purchases with suspected money laundering. Within the details of the case are some key reminders of the type […]

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 […]

Conveyancing Fraud Red Flags

This week a particularly shocking case of a man’s house being ‘stolen’ was reported by the BBC. The staggering realisation that a person’s house can literally be sold without their knowledge is headline grabbing. But when we look at the way this potential crime could have happened, it’s easy to see when the right circumstances align […]

“Stolen” home highlights ID verification failure

A BBC investigation has uncovered how a homeowner’s identity was stolen resulting in his property being sold with the perpetrator pocketing the £131,000 proceeds of sale. Talking to BBC Radio 4’s “Your and Yours” the Reverend Mike Hall explained how he was working away and had been alerted to the fraud by neighbours who contacted […]

How technology is helping conveyancers tackle money laundering

Money laundering is a growing risk in the UK property market, as the Pandora papers demonstrate. The failure of some conveyancers and estate agents to properly verify buyers’ identities, and comply with the relevant AML regulations, means they risk supporting the laundering of dirty money. New AI, Open Banking and facial recognition technology can automate […]

Law Society release home buying fraud warning for consumers

Home buyers are being warned about a spike in scams which have seen victims defrauded out of hundreds of thousands of pounds. The Law Society of England and Wales has joined forces with the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), which is housed within the National Crime Agency, and Action Fraud to issue flyers warning of […]

5 providers sign up to “ID Trust Scheme” pilot

Five identity service providers have committed to the new MyIdentity trust scheme to make home buying and selling in the UK a safe digital process. The five identity service providers are: Digidentity, Nuggets, OBiD, Thirdfort, and Yoti. Their involvement assures consumers will have fully inclusive choices to prove their identity. The hub service provider is […]

AML update – the focus on AML is going nowhere anytime soon!

Our latest quarterly update webinar started with a view of the current anti-money laundering landscape including: The release of the Pandora papers, which have shown even more the extent to which the mega-rich employ different ways in which to hide their money and avoid paying tax on it; of particular concern to authorities is the […]

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 […]

Estate agents should do more to tackle conveyancing fraud

A leading compliance specialist in the estate agency market has suggested that estate agents should be doing more to support efforts to complete customer due diligence and tackle money laundering.  Compliance Officer for The Guild of Property Professionals, Paul Offley, has said that agents should be following “best practice” to establish the legal/beneficial owner of […]

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 […]

NatWest admits to anti-money laundering offences

NatWest Bank has admitted to three charges relating to anti-money laundering failures. NatWest, the state-backed bank formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland, will face “very large fines” according to experts, following its failure to prevent alleged money laundering of £365 million by a single customer. The criminal action, first announced by the Financial Conduct […]

London a hotbed of tax avoidance for offshore firms

Newly released Land Registry data has revealed the overseas companies that own property in England and Wales, with a considerable ‘hotspot’ in London and interest from ‘tax haven’ organisations rife. The analysis comes in the week an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) report exposed the extent of major world figures and leaders using offshore […]

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% […]

Cyber Essentials Plus – A Case Study

The National Centre for Cyber Security (NCSC) has identified the legal sector as a top target for cyber criminals. According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), £11 million was stolen by cyber criminals last year.  Fraudsters are now taking advantage of new vulnerabilities in systems introduced with the remote working revolution due to COVID.  As […]

Conveyancing and Cyber-crime

Action Fraud’s latest fraud reports show that there were £2.35bn of reported losses in the last 12 months (to March 2021), with 80% of all reported fraud being cyber enabled. The pandemic has exacerbated levels of fraud as the volume of digital transactions across all sectors has increased by an estimated 40%, leaving consumers more […]

Economic Crime Levy draft legislation published

Following a consultation between July and October last year on how funds could be raised to help the UK’s fight against economic crime, the Government has now published its proposals and draft legislation which will bring the levy in to effect. The economic crime levy announced by the Government at the 2020 Budget in March […]

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 […]

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) […]