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Tougher sentencing for rogue traders

Proposals on tougher sentencing for rogue traders who defraud and bribe the public have been announced by the Sentencing Council.

The Sentencing Council is the independent body responsible for developing sentencing guidelines for the courts to use when passing a sentence.

The consultation on the draft guideline on fraud, bribery and money laundering offences was open from 27 June 2013 to 4 October 2013.

The Council sought views on:

·         the principal factors that make any of the offences included within the draft guideline more or less serious;

·         the additional factors that should influence the sentence;

·         the approach taken to structuring the draft guidelines;

·         the sentences that should be passed for fraud, bribery and money laundering offences for both  individuals and corporations

The Sentencing Council was created to bring together the functions of the two previous bodies, the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) and Sentencing Advisory Panel (SAP). The Sentencing Council is a more streamlined body with a broader remit to take forward work on sentencing not only through guidelines but also through the development of a robust evidence base and engaging with the public to improve knowledge and understanding about sentences.

Responding to the Sentencing Council’s consultation on fraud, bribery and money laundering, TrustMark chair Liz Male said: “The Sentencing Council’s new proposals will hopefully act as a deterrent to those cowboys who give tens of thousands of great law-abiding tradesmen a bad name.

“These criminals put their victims at risk and rip them off. The new guidelines are tougher on those who commit multiple offences, especially when the victims are particularly vulnerable.”

TrustMark is also calling on the Sentencing Council to consider even tougher penalties if rogue traders are fraudulently winning work involving electricity, gas and other potentially lethal substances such as asbestos.

“Tougher, simpler, sentencing guidelines will help us get the message across to rogues that their activities are unacceptable and have no place in our industry,” states Ms Earle. “Ripping off the vulnerable and putting safety at risk must be deterred and we believe the Sentencing Council’s guidelines go some way to help doing that.”

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