Fraudulent trading

What is fraudulent trading?

Fraudulent trading is where a company carries on a business with the intention of defrauding creditors or for any fraudulent purposes.

This applies whether the company is trading, has ceased trading or is in the process of being wound up.


Where can I get more information?

The Financial Services Authority (FSA)

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Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

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Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) 

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Should I report to the SFO?

If you suspect fraudulent trading, you should

  • Alert the liquidator if applicable,
  • The police and
  • The Special Compliance Office of HMRC.

If you have information that fits these statement of principles, then please report it in confidence using our secure online reporting form. You can also send details to us in writing at: SFO Confidential, Serious Fraud Office, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London, SW1Y 5BS.


Case study

Four criminals were jailed over a multi-million pound fraud. The fraud operated over a period of 4 years through a number of companies grouped under one name.

The defendants extracted large amounts of money from three financial institutions through submitting over a thousand false invoices.

Over £85 million of false invoices were submitted over the period of the fraud.

Once the fraud was uncovered the fraudulent group of companies went into liquidation. They left the institutional investors victim to a combined net loss of over £7.5 million.

All defendants pleaded guilty to several counts of fraudulent trading.