The value of theft and fraud reported to the Charity Commission totalled 21m last year according to their third annual report, as reported on the Civil Society website. The commission recieved 451 reports of serious incidents and conducted 180 investigations. Although the number of incidents reported has almost doubled in comparison to last year it is thought that there are many more that go unreported. The increase is said to be down to the proactive monitoring work of the regulator’s compliance unit; lets hope they keep up the good work.
An article on the UK Border Agencies website demonstrates their dedication to fighting the trade of counterfeit goods. Almost £4 million worth of counterfeits, including iphones, ipads and designer jewellery, have been seized over the summer months. The article highlights the need for effective collaboration between the authorities and industry in the investigation of counterfeits as the smuggling techniques become more sophisticated.
The EU are looking at more concrete measures to tackle the problem of Chinese counterfeit goods entering Europe. Although an action plan was signed last year to help fight the problem, the lack of action by Chinese officials is a growing concern. As reported in an AFP article, European tax, customs and anti-fraud commissioner Algirdas Semeta commented on an agreement between Chinese and EU officials to share information on criminal activity in relation to counterfeit goods; ”we presented 55 cases to Chinese authorities while we received just five cases from Chinese authorities. This means the implementation of the programme requires additional effort”.
Without better Chinese co-operation the EU and the rest of the world may be fighting a losing battle against the growing problem of Chinese counterfeits.
A new report for the British Journal of Criminology, co-written by a Home Office Advisor, claims not and that counterfeiting could actually be beneficial to top designer labels by promoting their brands. This view seems slightly irresponsible taking the consequences of counterfeiting (lost tax revenue, funding of organised crime etc) into consideration and is not supported by the leading designer brands; as reported on www.styleite.com, a spokesman for Louis Vuitton said: ‘The sale of counterfeit goods is a serious offence whose revenue funds criminal organisations at the expense of consumers, companies and governments.’
The report concludes that it should be the responsibility of industry rather than police to fight the counterfeiters and that resources should be concentrated on other more dangerous counterfeits such as medicines and aircraft parts.
An international operation, co-ordinated by INTERPOL and involving police, customs and drug regulatory authorities across East Africa has resulted in the seizure of at least 10 tons of counterfeit and illicit medical products and more than 80 arrests. This was part of a continued operation aiming to curb the increasing problem of the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit medical products in this region.
As reported on the INTERPOL website, Aline Plancon, head of INTERPOL’s Medical Products Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) highlights the need for better collaboration between organisations and the effective management of investigations and information in the fight against this crime, she recommends ‘the development of a more systematic exchange of information to pool expertise, experience, resources, intelligence and technical support’.
Some of Australia’s best known wine brands have become victim to the increasing issue of Chinese counterfeiters, presenting a serious threat to Australia’s export wine market. As reported by The Age, fake bottles of Australian wine including the well known Penfolds brand are being found in shops and trade fairs throughout the country.
Smaller wine producers are also being targeted; Emanuel Skorpos of Flinders Run is currently investigating whether two bottles of one of his wines bought in a Chinese shop are fakes. In addition to the affects on sales of his own wines, his biggest fear is the threat it presents to the image of Australian wine in its fastest growing export market.
The full article can be found here.
The UK’s Fraud prevention service, CIFAS, in collaboration with a number of private and public sector bodies and experts has released a report looking into Staff Fraud and what action can be taken to prevent it. The report, entitled The Internal Betrayal, contains a number of articles ranging from links with organised crime and whistleblowing procedures to investigating the motivations behind employee fraud. The full report can be found here http://www.cifas.org.uk/download/The_Internal_Betrayal_CIFAS_Special_Report.pdf.
CIFAS staff Fraud members noted a 45% increase in the number of cases of internal fraud from 2008 to 2009, this was reflected in the findings of ABM’s investigation survey carried out earlier this year which revealed that internal theft and fraud were among the most investigated incidents by investigation professionals.
It was reported today that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) has been used over 400 times in the past two years by councils across the Black Country. RIPA was introduced to regulate investigations by public bodies (including covert surveillance, the use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources, interception of communications and the use of communications data); it is used by councils to investigate offences such as rogue trading, benefit cheating and flytipping. ABM’s software for managing covert operations and investigations is fully compliant with RIPA legislation. The full article can be read here.
The latest British Crime Survey reveals that crime in England and Wales is at its lowest levels since 1981; but how long can this downward trend in crime last with talk of ‘budget cuts threatening 60,000 police jobs’? According to former Gloucestershire Chief Constable Tim Brain this is the number of police officer, civillian staff and community support officer posts that could be axed by 2015. Reducing bureaucracy and police collaboration/ regionalisation may allow more to be done with less to a certain extent but surely no-one can expect current levels of front-line policing to be maintained if this worst case scenario is realised.
EU legislation could soon be assisting in the fight against counterfeit medicines as discussed in an intersting article, ‘Counterfeit medicines: A growing health threat’ ,on the EurActiv website . Counterfeiting in the Pharmaceutical industry is an increasing danger and surprisingly extends to all types of prescription drugs. Finding an effective way to investigate this criminal activity and remove the fakes from the supply chain is crucial with estimates that the fake drugs market in Europe alone is worth more than 10 billion euros every year and effects 77 million people.