Nicola is a partner in the fraud and criminal litigation team. She specialises in white collar crime and fraud and has over 19 years of experience in this area.
Nicola regularly deals with high profile cases and allegations of the most serious nature. Many of her clients have never been involved in the Criminal Justice System previously; many are professionals and upper level management or directors in organisations for whom even being arrested can cause difficulty with their employment and the embarrassment of informing their professional body. She also advises clients in relation to regulatory and compliance issues which may arise as a result of allegations having been made.
The majority of Nicola's client are under investigation or charged with fraud offences. This includes complex fraud investigations carried out by the Serious Fraud Office as well as the Economic Crime Unit. She regularly advises individuals and businesses that fear criminal investigations by HMRC for tax evasion offences. She advises and represents clients charged with a wide range of offences from failure to declare income and failure to pay VAT and CGT to multi defendant complex schemes which HMRC allege are set up to evade tax.
Nicola has provided lectures to other professional bodies and organisations to assist them in dealing with investigations by HMRC in relation to clients. Accountants and other professionals can be the subject of 'dawn raids' when papers are being sought in relation to clients under investigation. Nicola has given lectures to assist organisations to prepare for such an incident and also to provide advice and representation when those searches are actually taking place.
Nicola advises individuals in relation to money laundering legislation, confiscation proceedings and restraint orders. She has also advised clients facing bribery and corruption allegations.
Nicola works closely with colleagues in other departments offering advice to organisations involved in investigating fraud and then making decisions as to how to proceed. Nicola has assisted organisations when investigating and reporting matters to police. Nicola can also advise and assist individuals and organisations wishing to pursue private prosecutions. Nicola works alongside our civil fraud team providing advice to individuals and organisations in relation to the criminal aspect of proceeds of crime legislation and asset recovery.
Nicola is regularly contacted for advice on all aspects of the criminal justice system by the BBC, and has appeared as an expert guest on radio and television programmes on BBC1, Radio 2, Radio 5 Live and local BBC radio stations.
- DAS UK Holdings v Asplin: Nicola successfully defended what has been reported to be the largest private prosecution for fraud brought to date by an insurance company. The prosecution alleged that our client was involved in a conspiracy to defraud the insurance company in relation to the purchase of a law firm. The prosecution alleged that other defendants of the most senior levels within the insurance company had breached fiduciary duties and acted in a manner which was to the detriment of the insurance company that they worked for. We were able to persuade the jury with the help of specialist expertise that the price paid for the law firm was not vastly inflated as the prosecution claimed. In order to achieve this we needed to present very complex matters to the jury in a way in which they could easily understand in order to achieve the acquittal of our client.
- R v B: advising and assisting company that uncovered a theft of over £1 million. Advising and assisting the company during the investigation stage. Advising company with others within the firm about civil recovery, private prosecution options to recover the funds. Ultimately the company reported the matter to the police but required a large amount of support in persuading the authorities to prosecute. It is not unusual for companies in this position to face resistance by police about prosecuting these types of offences.
- HMRC v R and others: advising clients subject to Section 62 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 notices. Nicola has recently advised and assisted a number of individuals and organisations that have received such notices requiring them to produced documents required by HMRC investigations into offshore tax avoidance schemes.
- Nicola has recently advised a number of clients that have received COP9 notices from HMRC. Code of Practice 9 notices are issued by HMRC when they suspect fraud. Nicola has worked alongside specialist tax advisors advising and assisting and responding to these notices in order to avoid criminal prosecution.
- R v P: Nicola successfully represented a family business charged with fraud of over £1 million. It was alleged that those running the businesses had repeatedly breached regulatory offences in order to obtain Government compensation to the tune of £1 million. Nicola was able to persuade the prosecution to drop the fraud allegation following a complex investigation covering three years. Far from facing a lengthy custodial sentence for fraud the client company paid a small fine for breaching a regulatory offence.
- R v Y: successful representation of a defendant charged with a multi million pound VAT fraud
- SFO v S: Nicola is currently advising a director in relation to allegations that he was involved in paying bribes in order to ensure that his company won lucrative contracts
- HMRC prosecution of a landlord with large portfolio of properties. HMRC alleged that the landlord had failed to pay income tax on rental income and capital gains tax in relation to properties sold but not declared over a 10 year period
- R v C: defendant charged with fraud by abuse of position of over £600,000
- R v A: defendant charged with a multi million pound conspiracy involving the theft of plant equipment and exportation to the Middle East
- R v S: defendant facing confiscation proceedings following his conviction for importation of class A drugs (he was represented by other solicitors at trial)
- R - S: Nicola successfully persuaded authorities not to extradite defendant to France when it became clear that his solicitor had failed to notify him of the date when he was required to attend Court
- R v B: Nicola successfully assisted a company director accused of failing to provide company accounts to Companies House
- R v B: Nicola successfully persuaded HMRC not to charge a client with tax evasion following a lengthy investigation which included undeclared property and income from other jurisdictions