Scot scams £7m from top US bitcoin broker as fraud cases soar

The total amount of money defrauded from members of the public has soared from £1m to £10m.

Ayrshire man scams £7m from top US bitcoin broker as fraud cases soar in Scotland iStock

An Ayrshire scammer who defrauded a top US bitcoin broker of millions is among a rise in fraud cases in Scotland.

The 24-year-old managed to steal £7m from his American target it was revealed as new figures showed the value of fraud cases coming to Scottish courts rose by almost 200% in a year.

KPMG UK’s latest bi-annual Fraud Barometer said the number fraud cases worth more than £100,000 coming to court rose significantly in 2022.

There were 24 cases totalling £17.4m, up from 2021 when 16 cases worth a total £5.9m were heard in court – a 194% increase by value.

It’s reported that 13 out of the 24 cases had a value of between £100,000 and £250,000.

Among the cases was that of Robert Bell, who carried out a £736,000 Boots gift card scam in just two months after finding a loophole.

'Dramatic' increase of fraud cases in Scotland with iStock

The 37-year-old businessman was able to get the cards for free by filling out an order form and asked them to be loaded with credit without the intention of paying the cash back.

He was sentenced to 33 months in jail at Glasgow Sheriff Court after being convicted of being involved in a fraudulent scheme.

Another case involved businesswoman Lisa Groundwater, who was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to a fraudulent cheque scam with the Royal Bank of Scotland last year.

She deposited five cheques over nine weeks, to a total sum of £1,527,050, without having sufficient funds in various bank accounts. She was jailed for two years.

The general public were the victims in the majority of these cases, rising to 11 from three the previous year, with the total amount defrauded soaring from £1m to £10.3m.

Five of the cases in 2022 related to commercial businesses defrauded of a combined value of £1.3m.

Annette Barker, head of forensic at KPMG in the UK, said: “The dramatic increase of fraud cases coming to light in Scotland is worrying, particularly with many cases involving rogue employees abusing their positions of trust to steal money from their employers, clients and other partners.”

Sandra Aitkenhead, senior manager of forensic at KPMG in Scotland, said: “Businesses must do all they can to maintain adequate controls to prevent serious fraud from being committed.

“Without the right safeguards in place, businesses across Scotland will unfortunately continue to be victims of crime and incur the reputational and financial damage which comes with it.”

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