Specialist Fraud Division

The Specialist Fraud Division is a dedicated prosecuting team within the CPS which deals with the most serious, complex and difficult economic crime cases, including bribery and corruption. It has a national remit and the specialist expertise to prosecute cases investigated by police and a range of other investigative agencies throughout England and Wales.

The Division primarily takes economic crime from specialist units in the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service, but has a number of cases investigated by other forces and has arrangements in place to work with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and regional police fraud units.

SFD also prosecutes serious and complex criminal tax, excise and strategic export cases, which are subject to criminal investigations by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), in England and Wales.

In addition, SFD prosecutes all criminal cases relating to NHS fraud investigated by NHS Protect and criminal matters investigated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The types of economic crime cases handled by the Specialist Fraud Division

Economic crime cases that are complex or sensitive are dealt with by SFD. Other fraud cases are handled by local CPS prosecutors.

In addition, the division works on difficult corruption and bribery cases, especially concerning public  bodies or officials, frauds on government departments or the governments of other countries and cases requiring specialist knowledge such as Stock Exchange practices, regulatory bodies, complex banking issues or shipping law. 

Our work with HM Revenue & Customs

HMRC has responsibility for investigating all fiscal crimes, which involve activities such as direct and indirect tax evasion, excise duty fraud and tax credit fraud. SFD prosecutes complex or sensitive crimes, which are a major source of income for organised criminals and frequently involve concerted and highly sophisticated attacks upon the tax system. SFD also handles other serious non-fiscal crimes investigated by HMRC, such as illegal arms trafficking, certain breaches of sanctions legislation and associated money laundering.

Our work with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

SFD prosecute complex organised crime cases investigated by the DWP's internal investigation department, the Fraud and Error Service (FES). Benefit fraud is when someone is dishonest in order to receive benefit or knowingly fails to report a change in their circumstances. FES also investigates frauds related to grants (e.g. crisis loans), the access to work scheme, maternity and other allowance fraud and identity fraud (e.g. false or hijacked identity).

Crimes related to the environment, food and rural affairs

SFD prosecutes serious and complex cases on behalf of a range of agencies with links to the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), including: Animal Health, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Forestry Commission, Gangmasters Licensing Authority, Rural Payments Agency, The Food and Environment Research Agency and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

Cases include the illegal use and sale of veterinary medicines, offences against fish and shellfish health regulations, environmental damage, animal welfare crimes, illegal working practices in the food and agriculture industries and crimes related to livestock registration and food labelling.

 

WHO's WHO in Specialist Fraud Division

Andrew Penhale

Andrew Penhale, Head of Specialist Fraud DivisionAndrew Penhale is the Head of Specialist Fraud Division and was appointed in February 2020.

Prior to that Andrew was the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North-East Area, leading teams based in Newcastle and Middlesbrough, covering Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland.

Between 2011 and 2015, Andrew was Deputy Head of the Specialist Fraud Division, with responsibility for large, complex fraud and tax evasion cases, leading 250 staff based in six offices in England and Wales. Prior to that, he spent four years as the northern Unit Head for the Organised Crime Division, leading teams in Manchester and Yorkshire, handling a wide range of cases involving drug-trafficking, money-laundering, cyber-crime and people-trafficking.

Andrew also spent two years as a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, where he was the Area Violence Against Women and Girls and Hate Crime Co-ordinator and led the pilot introductions of Better Case Management (BCM) and the Digital Case System (DCS), in Leeds.

Andrew is the CPS legal lead in two areas: the national roll-out of section 28 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, involving the early video cross-examination of children and other witnesses; and on Serious Violence, covering firearms, knife crime, noxious substances and gang activity.

David Malone

DAvid MaloneDavid Malone is a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor and a Deputy Head of the Specialist Fraud Division.

David joined the Crown Prosecution Service in September 2019 - on sabbatical from his Chambers - on a two-year secondment, following over 20 years' continuous practice at the bar.

David is an established leading barrister who has provided advice and representation (both prosecution and defence) in high-profile and demanding criminal cases before the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal.

He is a Grade 4 criminal advocate (the highest grade) and is approved to prosecute as an advocate specialist cases: terrorism; serious and organised crime, rape and child sexual abuse and fraud.

He has been commended by the General Council of the Bar Council for his pro bono work.

Janet Potter

Janet Potter profile photoJanet Potter is Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor.

Janet took up post with SFD in September 2017. Following a short spell in private practice Janet joined the CPS in Merseyside in 1992, first as Senior Crown Prosecutor and later as District Crown Prosecutor, working in teams dedicated to serious sexual offences and Crown Court cases.

In 2013, Janet became head of the Complex Casework Unit for CPS Mersey-Cheshire and was later seconded to the CPS Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism Division to head up a team handling charging decisions relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

John Sheehan

John Seehan, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, Specialist Fraud DivisionJohn Sheehan is Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor.

John has defended and prosecuted complex casework, including serious economic crime, since 1997. In 2006, after working in private practice, John joined HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI). He led inspections of the CPS and the Serious Fraud Office, which he subsequently joined in 2014 as Head of Policy.

In January 2017, John joined the CPS Specialist Fraud Division as a Unit Head in the London Office, and in October 2017 he was formally appointed Deputy Head of Division, responsible for the Birmingham and Leeds offices.

Zoe Gascoyne

Zoe Gascoyne, DCCP, Serious Fraud DivisionZoe Gascoyne is Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor.

Zoe joined the Crown Prosecution Service in February 2018 following 16 years in private practice where she was a partner at two leading criminal practices in Liverpool.

Zoe was Chair of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association for two years between 2015 and 2017. In 2017, Zoe was named Solicitor of the Year in Private Practice at The Law Society Excellence Awards and also won the Criminal Law Award at Liverpool Law Society Awards.