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Fraud in European Elections

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Voting for the European Parliament elections next month has been tainted by proof of a growing trend in fraud beyond the business community, as six men have been jailed for charges relating to election fraud during a council vote in Slough.

The six people jailed for electoral fraud included a former Conservative council candidate.

The postal vote rigging was detected when the Labour councillor questioned how she had been defeated by 120 votes in Central Ward in Slough and lost her seat to the Conservative candidate. It transpired that in the build-up to the election, a number of individuals had registered to vote by post at a number of houses. Six men in total were jailed and one individual was jailed for four and a half years.

The issue highlights just how easy the introduction of postal voting on demand has made it to ‘steal’ elections and that fraud is not something only confined to areas such as mortgage fraud – which is on the rise – or the business and finance world, as evidenced by the disgraced financiers’ Bernard Madoff and Alan Stanford.  Fraud can affect anybody, be it through identity theft or credit card fraud.

The recent convictions for postal vote fraud could not have come at a worse time, leading up to the European elections, as it demonstrates how it is members of the electorate who can also be tainted by the growing trend in fraud.

The rise of organised crime and fraud is something that can affect anybody and the existence of election fraud is another reminder that anybody can be a victim.

Figures released by the Insolvency Service serve to demonstrate that in many cases individuals know exactly what they are becoming involved in and cannot claim to be an innocent party – there has been a 72% increase in the year end to March, in director disqualifications in insolvent companies with directors involved in fraud or other financial crime.

Both electoral fraud and that which takes place in the corporate and financial sector, exist because of the desire of an individual to achieve something that cannot be done by legitimate channels. The individuals behind the electoral fraud wanted to come into political power and those behind financial crimes seek to better themselves financially.

The economic downturn has unearthed these frauds but electoral fraud is one example of how innocent parties become a part of schemes to defraud. When told of the result in Central Ward, the public would have accepted the outcome and many would have had no reason to suspect that something was wrong. When things are looked at in more detail the stories unravel and the fraud is detected, proving the value of thorough investigations by experienced individuals whenever a fraud is suspected or something can not be accounted for.


Written by Andrew Hodges

May 22, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Posted in Comment

Tagged with , ,

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