On 23 May 2014, the Sentencing Council published a consultation response on sentencing guidelines for individuals convicted of fraud, bribery and money laundering offences.

The Definitive Guideline published alongside the response will take effect from 1 October 2014 and consolidates the guidelines for corporate offenders and individuals.

Corporate offenders

In June 2013, the Sentencing Council launched a consultation on draft sentencing guidelines for corporates and individuals convicted of fraud, bribery and money laundering offences.

Publication of the guideline for corporate offenders was expedited so that it would be in place to provide a point of reference when Deferred Prosecution Agreements ("DPAs") were introduced.

Our analysis of that guideline, which was published on 31 January 2014 and has now been incorporated unchanged into the Definitive Guideline, is available here.

Individuals

The new guidelines for individual offenders seek to recognise that the impact on victims can go beyond mere financial loss, leaving some victims badly affected both emotionally and psychologically.

The Sentencing Council has broadened the description of "harm" to take into account the varied effects suffered by victims, including physical harm from "cash for crash" scams, distress and inconvenience suffered as a result of identity fraud, and increased premiums for policyholders as a result of insurance scams.

Under previous guidelines, harm to victims was to be regarded as an aggravating factor. Now it is to be treated as a primary consideration, which is expected to result in tougher sentences.

Further reading

The Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences Definitive Guideline is available here.