Investment Fraud Recovery Solicitors

Specialist assistance for individuals and businesses seeking to recover assets lost through fraudulent investment schemes.

Saunders Law is a niche litigation practice based in Central London. We have expertise in advising clients who believe they have fallen victim to investment fraud. We provide robust asset recovery services to trace and recover assets both in the UK and internationally.

We also defend clients accused of investment fraud, ensuring their rights and assets are protected at each stage of the civil fraud and asset recovery process.

Our commercially-astute team offer strategic advice, representing clients in high value claims exceeding £250,000.

Speak to our investment fraud recovery solicitors

For expert assistance with investment fraud recovery or defence, contact Saunders law today for a free, no obligation initial discussion of how we may be able to help.

Call our civil investment fraud lawyers on 02076324300 or make an enquiry online.

Our investment fraud recovery expertise

Our investor fraud and asset recovery team can deliver a broad range of legal strategies to remedy the misappropriation of assets, including:

  • Freezing orders (freezing injunctions)
  • Search orders
  • Disclosure orders
  • Travel restraint orders
  • Cross-examination orders
  • Civil arrest warrants
  • International asset tracing and recovery
  • Civil conspiracy

We have a wealth of experience working collaboratively with forensic accountants and other professionals to trace assets, freeze accounts and ultimately seek the best possible outcome for our clients, both in the UK and internationally.

Our Commercial Litigation Team is led by Matthew Purcell, who adeptly manages a full range of litigation matters, including handling cases in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and Privy Council.

What is investment fraud?

There is an element of risk in all financial schemes, but where an investment scheme is not genuine or has no hope of generating any sort of return for investors, it can cross the line into fraud.

Types of investment fraud

There are many different types of investment fraud, including:

  • Boiler room fraud.
  • Financial mis-selling.
  • Ponzi schemes/pyramid schemes.
  • Pension scams.
  • Property development scams.
  • Binary option scams.

Typically, fraudulent investment schemes are set up specifically with the intention to make a financial gain at the expense of investors. The victim is often contacted out of the blue by someone posing as an investment company or broker and is convinced to ‘invest’ large sums of money into a scheme that does not exist.

Such schemes can be very sophisticated, running lavish ad campaigns or featuring professional-looking websites that can be very convincing to even the most experienced of investors.

Certain types of investments are much more susceptible to fraud than others – usually those which are unregulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), such as:

  • Mini-bonds (this was the type of investment involved in the high-profile failure of London Capital and Finance (LCF)).
  • Cryptocurrency.
  • Peer-to-peer investments.
  • Wine and art investments.

Because such schemes are unregulated, victims do not have protection or a simple source of relief.

Sometimes, a scam might also arise due to a legitimate company or scheme being impersonated, for example, by cloning their website. In such cases, the victim thinks they are handing money over to a legitimate scheme but are actually transferring it to a fraudster.

Is investment fraud a civil or criminal matter?

It can be both. Serious fraud offences, such as fraud by false representation, may be investigated and prosecuted by a range of authorities, including the police, the Specialist Fraud Division of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office.

Civil fraud may be pursued by the victim of the fraud to seek recovery of the misappropriated assets and for damages. The burden of proof in civil proceedings is lower than criminal – the fraud must be proved on the balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt. So, it is often possible to pursue civil fraud action even where criminal fraud cannot be made out.

At Saunders Law, as well as helping clients pursue and defend action for civil fraud recovery, we also have a dedicated Regulatory and Crime.   We can assist individuals facing criminal legal action for investment fraud at all stages of the criminal justice system, from police station advice to representation at all court levels.

Spotting the signs of an investment fraud or scam

Coming to the realisation that an investment scheme is not legitimate can be shocking and upsetting. It is common for victims to feel like they should have spotted the signs, but such schemes can be very sophisticated, tripping up even the most experienced and commercially-savvy investor.

Some common hallmarks of an investment scam are:

  • Returns that sound too good to be true.
  • Pushy brokers who will not take no for an answer.
  • Opportunities that arise from cold calls, emails or letters.
  • Opportunities described as ‘one-off’ or ‘once-in-a-lifetime’.

Most legitimate schemes will be regulated and listed on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register.

Preventing the disposal of misappropriated assets after investment fraud

Once an investment fraud has become apparent, it is vital to contact our civil and commercial fraud recovery solicitors for specialist advice and immediate action.

One risk associated with recovery action is that the fraudster will move or dispose of the misappropriated assets before they can be recovered.

In such cases, an interim freezing order, also known as a freezing injunction and formerly known as a Mareva injunction, is a powerful legal tool which can prevent the defendant or any third parties on their behalf from dealing with their assets.

Freezing injunctions can affect all kinds of assets, including bank accounts, land, property, bonds and shares.

Freezing injunctions may apply to assets held in England and Wales but may also be obtained in respect of assets outside the jurisdiction (worldwide freezing injunctions).

As part of the freezing order proceedings, the defendant will usually be required to disclose details of their assets, including value and location.

A claimant can obtain a freezing order by applying to court. The interim order can usually be made ‘without notice’ to the defendant to avoid giving them an opportunity to hide the assets. There will usually then be a court hearing where the judge will decide whether to make the freezing injunction final. Such applications can also be made on an urgent basis.

In serious cases of civil investment fraud, the court may also make a search and seize order (often just referred to as a search order). Search orders allow assets to be seized from the defendant’s properties where there is a serious risk that misappropriated assets will be disposed of.

Find out more about freezing injunctions & orders.

Investment fraud asset tracing techniques

We can engage a wide variety of effective methods to trace and recover assets misappropriated through insurance fraud, including:

Information gathering

We undertake investigative methods, using key sources such as Companies House, the Land Registry, and even social media accounts, to obtain vital information such as the ownership of property, the location of assets, and the financial circumstances of a particular individual or company.

Piercing the corporate veil

In some cases, the culpable individuals may have been operating through a shell company or the circumstances of the case mean that it is more appropriate to bring a claim directly against the individual rather than the company.

In standard commercial litigation, the company is legally distinct from the individuals running it, meaning claims should typically be brought against the company rather than the individual. However, in civil fraud cases the courts will often allow the claimant to directly pursue the individuals responsible. This is called piercing the corporate veil.

Disclosure orders

Banks, consultants and brokers can be valuable sources of information during the investigation process, and they may be more prepared to assist the claimant than the defendant. In some cases, it may also be possible to obtain a disclosure order from court to compel a third party such as a bank to provide information.

Third party claims

Where a third party has participated in or benefitted from civil fraud, it may also be possible to bring a civil fraud claim against said third party where there is enough evidence to do so.

Investment fraud recovery defence advice

Becoming the subject of asset recovery procedures, such as freezing orders and search orders, can have a significant impact on the livelihood, freedom and reputation of an individual.

At Saunders Law, we act on behalf of clients facing civil fraud action, taking strategic steps to ensure assets are not unreasonably restricted. We also ensure that our client’s legal rights are protected, particularly in terms of data protection and property rights.

We specialise in high value, complex civil fraud which often attracts media attention. Our lawyers are also experienced in reputation management and ensuring rules on confidentiality are followed at all times.

Contact our investment fraud solicitors in London

For expert assistance with investment fraud recovery or defence, contact Saunders law today for a free, no obligation initial discussion of how we may be able to help.

Call us on 020 7632 4300 or make an enquiry online.