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Computer fraudsters to get stiffer sentences

The Sentencing Guidelines Council has started a consultation on tougher sentences for computer fraud.

The consultation run until May, but the Sentencing Guidelines Council says the government should recommend to judges longer sentences for frauds committed over computer systems - including identity thefts - and other types of fraud.

Judges are given advice on dealing with computer techniques used by fraudsters.

The council recommends that these activities should be treated as making articles for use in fraud, for which the sentencing range is between two and seven years custody for "an extensive and skilfully planned fraud".

Council member Christopher Pitchford said, "Fraud is not a victimless crime. Economic crime, including the bills for detection and prosecution is a huge burden on the economy.

"It is not just financial institutions that are targeted individuals can lose their businesses and their life savings. Fraud can be used to fund organised crime."

With the recession worsening, the government fears that more people will be attracted to "white collar crime", which up to now has usually attracted lesser sentences than violent crime.


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