Operation Henhouse leads to record number of arrests

A nationwide fraud investigation, called Operation Henhouse, has led to a “record” number of arrests for fraud, with a 52 per cent increase in the number of arrests that the operation achieved in the previous year.

This multi-agency initiative ran across February and March this year and has led to 438 arrests, the freezing of accounts worth £5.1 million and seizure of cash and assets worth £13.9 million.

The action involved all UK police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units, alongside national agencies including the Financial Conduct Authority, National Crime Agency (NCA), the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, the Serious Fraud Office and National Trading Standards.

According to the NCA, fraud is currently the most common crime type reported in the Crime Survey of England and Wales. It accounts for approximately 40 per cent of all crime reports and costs an estimated £6.8 billion each year in England and Wales alone.

Recent headlines related to the operation include the charging of two men in connection with alleged fraudulent banking schemes in Glasgow and Manchester amounting to £2 million and the serving of nine cease and desist notices to help tackle ghost brokers in London, Surrey, Leeds, Bradford, Sunderland and Manchester.

As a spokesman for the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) said, Operation Henhouse is proof of what policing and wider law enforcement across the UK can achieve when they work together. It also demonstrates how far these agencies will go to pursue those who commit fraud.

Commenting on the how national operations such as Henhouse work, Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, explains:

“Often fraud cases are expensive and time consuming because they require input from forensic accountants and can be difficult for lay juries to follow.  That is why some have argued that complex fraud trials should be heard by a judge and without a jury.

However, at the moment, the jury’s involvement means that often a large part of the work of the forensic accountant is to present complex financial evidence in a manner that is sufficiently clear and compelling for jurors to be able to grasp it even if they do not have any financial training.”

Sources: Evening Standard, Insurance Age, National Crime Agency

Posted in The Forensic Blog.