Being investigated by an employer, the HMRC or even the police for a business crime is a scenario that no professional wishes to find themselves in. However, it is far from an uncommon situation with many senior professionals and business owners finding themselves in this predicament each year, despite having no history of dishonest behaviour.
Being confronted with accusations or even just rumours of criminal activity at work is a highly stressful experience. However, it’s incredibly important to resist any type of knee-jerk reaction. The first thing you must do in this situation is speak to an experienced business crime solicitor.
Here at Purcell Parker, our extensive experience in defending white collar crime clients means our team are well-versed in what it takes to provide a high-quality business crime defence service. Obviously, the most important attribute in any business crime lawyer should be a detailed and up-to-date understanding of what is often a complicated area of the law. However, although crucial, this is only part of what it will take to secure the best outcome for your case.
Other important qualities include:
Understanding you are out of your comfort zone
Our clients who are accused of a financial irregularity such as fraud, embezzlement, theft, money laundering or false accounting are usually in this situation for the first time. Unlike career criminals who tend to have a good idea of the process of being accused of a crime, those who find themselves accused of a white collar crime are often unaware of what is involved in the process of defending their case.
When a letter from HMRC or a request for a voluntary interview under caution arrives, common questions include:
- Will I lose my job?
- Will I go to prison?
- Will seeking legal advice look like an admission of guilt?
- How do I keep this secret in order to preserve my reputation?
- How much is this process going to cost me in fines and legal fees?
Every case is unique, however the important thing to remember is that only the most serious of business crime cases can result in prison sentences. During our first conversation, while it will not be possible to predict outcomes or establish the full facts of your case at this first meeting, the fact that you are dealing with unchartered territory will be at the forefront of our minds as we explain the process of what may lie ahead.
Being honest with you
Here at Purcell Parker we have an impressive track record in securing the best results possible for our clients, whether that involves proving that an investigation should be dropped, securing a COP9 investigation in lieu of criminal charges in a fraud case or minimising any fine or custodial sentence that may be applicable. While we are confident of delivering the best outcome for our clients, we will always be realistic about our strategy and advise you accordingly.
When it comes to financing your case, we will be open and transparent about our fees and where possible, will provide a fixed-fee quote or best estimate of the likely costs associated with your case to help you budget.
A discreet approach
We understand that in business, reputation is everything and that one of your main priorities will be making sure as few people as possible are aware of the allegations against you as you work to protect your hard-won good name. For this reason, we are happy to meet our white collar clients at a time and place of their choosing, including out of normal office hours. Not only does this ensure privacy, but meeting us in a place and at a time where and when you feel comfortable means you are in a better position to focus on the details of the issues that need to be discussed and resolved.
As a leading criminal practice in Birmingham, we are best known for our criminal defence in the city’s courts. Those who are accused of crimes that are tried in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court have no choice but to be visible to the public. However, in the vast majority of business crime cases, which do not involve the public glare of the courts, we are able to operate on your behalf with discretion. Indeed, this is one of the aspects of our service that our business clients appreciate the most.
The ability to provide options
As well as formally representing you in any proceedings against you, we can also provide you with informal advice in situations where you need it in order to navigate an issue relating to your financial affairs.
Where an investigation against you is inevitable, our long experience in white collar cases means we can identify and pursue the strategy most likely to result in the least negative consequences for your professional reputation and your personal circumstances.
A plain English approach
Business crime covers a vast number of criminal activities and like any crime, the potential consequences vary hugely according to the scale, longevity and severity of the alleged offence. When financial irregularities arise, the circumstances are rarely straightforward and the investigation process can be laborious and complicated, even for senior professionals who pride themselves on having a solid grip on their company’s financial affairs. With this in mind, we will take care to explain everything to you in a jargon-free manner and will always be available to answer the questions you will inevitably have in relation to your case.
A non-judgemental attitude
Often a barrier to seeking legal advice is a concern that doing so somehow equates to an admission of guilt. While this can be an understandable worry for a professional who has never had reason to consult a lawyer in connection with an allegation against them, it couldn’t be further from the truth. It is always far better to consult a solicitor to protect your reputation than to run the risk of damaging it by making yourself vulnerable to unfounded allegations.
Both individuals and the HMRC are more than capable of making mistakes and in these situations, it is our job to clear your name. When it comes to HMRC investigations for matters such as irregularities in your tax return, mistakes can still result in penalties but there should be no question of reputational damage.
As business crime lawyers, we do of course regularly deal with cases in which our clients have indeed fallen foul of the law. Our experience is that there can be many reasons why people behave it what is usually an out-of-character manner. However, whatever the circumstances, our role is to act in your best interests, without any judgement of your actions. Our aim will always be to resolve your situation so you can put it behind you and get on with your life.
First class business crime solicitors in Birmingham and beyond
Although we are conveniently situated in Birmingham city centre, our business crime work extends to a national level. To find out how we can help with your case please fill in our contact form or call us on 0121 936 8781.