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Fraudulent Trading

Fraudulent Trading is committed when a business or organisation has intentionally conducted transactions which have defrauded their creditors, regardless of whether the respective company is currently trading or has ceased to do so. This is considered to be a serious offence and you could suffer serious consequences if accused of being involved. Quite often, depending on the circumstances, fraudulent trading is a complicated area of law which will require expert legal assistance. If you have been arrested for, or charged with, fraudulent trading, it is in your best interests to seek professional legal advice at the earliest opportunity. 

At Cartwright King, we are here to assist if you are facing such allegations and take both a professional and non-judgmental approach. We are available to represent you anywhere within the country and will defend your case for you in court if necessary.

Free initial telephone consultation

Our highly skilled Fraud team are here to take the worry off your hands. We can provide an initial telephone consultation to see how we can assist in your case. For more information, please call us on 0808 168 5550 or email

Fraudulent trading and the law

If you or your organisation has been deemed to have been involved with fraudulent trading, you may be charged under S993 of the Companies Act, where the prosecution must prove that you have acted with intent to defraud any associated creditors. During an investigation, it will be closely scrutinised whether your company was allowed to trade for too long at the expense of its creditors as it is the director’s responsibility to ensure all necessary steps were taken in order to avoid this happening.

The prosecution may be looking out for signs that you had wrongfully traded, which can include but are not limited to the following factors:

  • Poor credit rating
  • Directors asking for more time to pay third parties
  • Claims being issued and judgements in default
  • Ignoring letters of demand • Bounced cheques
  • Trading despite being in overdraft

Alternatively, as opposed to a company trading despite not having the financial means to, there is also the scenario whereby an organisation can be deliberately set up with the sole purpose to defraud creditors. Depending on the circumstances, this can be known as either ‘long firm fraud’ or ‘short firm fraud’. These can be outlined by the below:

Long Firm Fraud – This is when a company organises small trading accounts with their respective suppliers and settles these accounts quickly in order to build a strong credit rating with the supplier. Once this trust has been established, a large order will be placed and delivered , but will not be paid for.

Short Firm Fraud – This is when a company does not pay for the goods that they ordered.

In addition to these types of fraud, another can take the form of ‘advance fee fraud’ whereby fees are deducted at an early stage for goods/services which have failed to be completed.

What sentence could you face?

In terms of defending your case and sentencing, it is the dishonest intent associated with this offence that needs to be overcome. However, dishonest intent can be difficult to prove beyond doubt as it means being absolutely sure what was in somebody else’s mind. For this reason, it must be shown that the actions would be deemed by the average person to be dishonest and that the offender would have acknowledged it as such. If this is the case and you are found guilty, you could potentially face a heavy fine and a prison sentence of 3-7 years, subject to circumstances.

If you have been charged with an offence in relation to fraudulent trading, it is essential that you seek expert legal advice as early as possible. If arrested, you are entitled by law to be legally represented at the Police Station. You should always insist that the Police contact Cartwright King and not speak to the Police until you have had chance to consult with one of our experienced team.

Cartwright King’s Defence Solicitors are available to advise you day and night through the legal proceedings and represent you in court if necessary making sure that the strongest defence case is put forward for you. They will also advise about your right to appeal should the need arise.

How we can help

At Cartwright King, our solicitors understand the serious implications that being accused of fraudulent trading can cause and the potential long term consequences that can affect you and your family. We are available to support you throughout the entire process, explain the likely outcomes and fight on your behalf. We promise to:

  • Advise you throughout the entire process
  • Advise you on a confidential basis of any concerns you have
  • Represent you in an interview under caution
  • Prepare and collate all required documents
  • Represent you in court if necessary
  • Take the worry off your hands
  • Argue your case

Our team of solicitors have a vast amount of experience in successfully defending individuals facing allegations of various types of fraud.

Why choose us?

If you have been accused of being involved with fraudulent trading, our experienced Fraud solicitors are available to put forward the strongest case possible for your defence and will advise you throughout the entire process. We will prepare an appeal on your behalf where necessary. Our team are highly ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides. We have extensive experience in successfully defending businesses and individuals accused of fraud.

How to make contact

If you require any legal advice or if you would like a no obligation, free initial telephone discussion, then please call us on 0808 168 5550. Alternatively you can email the Fraud team on and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Our Fraud Solicitors can provide advice across the country and are happy to meet at a time and location that suits you. We also have a network of offices in London, Birmingham, Bedford, Bolton, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle Gateshead, Northampton, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Sheffield, and Worcester.


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