KPMG said 16 cases totalling £5.9m reached Scottish courts in 2021, skyrocketing from 2020 when only one case involving £240,000 came to light.
The number of fraud cases reaching the Scottish courts rose dramatically last year, an accountancy firm has said, with one case worth more than £1 million.
Sixteen trials totalling £5.6 million were heard in courts and reported in the media last year, according to KPMG’s latest fraud barometer, skyrocketing from 2020 when only one case involving £240,000 came to light.
Annette Barker, head of KPMG Forensic in the UK, said that “rising fraud cases in Scotland reflect the changing environment criminals have adapted to in the past 12 months”.
The firm said the increase was thought to be due to a combination of rising instances of fraud offences during the pandemic, and courts working through a backlog of cases which built up of because of delays during the initial coronavirus lockdowns.
Most cases in Scotland were valued at between £100,000 and £250,000, but one involved more than £1.1 million. Eight of the 16 cases concerned commercial businesses.
“Covid-19 changed many aspects of our working lives and how businesses operate, creating more means, opportunity, and motive for people to commit fraud,” Ms Barker said.
“While cases have risen in Scotland for all forms of fraud, it is promising to see more cases being detected and brought to court.
“It’s increasingly important for organisations and the public to be aware of increased threats, particularly online fraud, and implement preventative measures where possible to reduce their risk of falling victim.”
Across the UK the number of fraud trials brought before a judge in 2021 shot up by two-thirds compared to the year before.
KPMG’s fraud barometer found 292 cases being heard nationally during 2021, up from 180 in 2020.
But many fraud cases are not brought to court.
Between 2020 and 2021 there were 875,622 reports made to Action Fraud with a reported loss of £2.35 billion.
Yet last year the total value of fraud reaching UK courts covered almost £445 million of claims.