Ben Close Fraud, Business and Financial Crime

Call: 2009

Introduction

Ben has been a specialist criminal practitioner since he started his career in 2009. He moved to St Philips at the beginning of 2015, since which time he has developed his practice to encompass regulatory fields.

Ben is instructed by various prosecuting authorities and the defence, typically in serious and complex cases. As well as appearing regularly in the Crown Court, he has also appeared successfully numerous times in the Court of Appeal including in reported cases, where he has been complimented for his thorough approach.

He became a Grade 3 prosecutor at a very early stage in his career. He is on the specialist Grade 4 lists for Serious Crime and Proceeds of Crime and he is on the Grade 3 specialist Fraud panel. He has also been appointed to the CPS specialist rape panel.

Ben has been appointed to the ‘B’ list of Specialist Regulatory Advocates.

Ben has earned a reputation for a hard-working and thorough approach, but without losing sight of the importance of being personable and persuasive. He is equally at home addressing juries or judges.

After obtaining a First Class degree in Law where he achieved the highest marks in his University year, Ben completed an LLM in Criminal Justice prior to completing the Bar course. He now assists with advocacy training events and lecturing Bar students. He is a member of St Philips’ pupillage committee and is the editor of the criminal team’s newsletter.


Fraud, Business and Financial Crime

Ben has considerable experience of fraud cases including, most recently, frauds committed by company directors, courier frauds, VAT fraud, identity thefts, benefit frauds, and frauds in breach of trust more generally. He is a specialist Grade 4 Proceeds of Crime prosecutor and a specialist Grade 3 Fraud prosecutor.

Examples of cases include successfully prosecuting trials in: a fraud targeting deceased customers’ bank accounts and then laundering the proceeds - 9 defendants were successfully prosecuted, one of whom worked inside the bank; a 9 defendant courier fraud case targeting elderly victims across multiple force areas; a former special constable for stealing her mother’s pension in a case involving sophisticated attempts to frustrate the investigation giving rise to further offences.

His experience of prosecuting multi-defendant fraud cases also extends to a 17 defendant (identity theft) case, again without a leader.
He is currently prosecuting a case involving an NHS employee working in another person’s identity.

Ben also has extensive experience of benefit fraud cases. As well as appearing for the defence and prosecution in benefit claimant cases, he has also successfully prosecuted larger conspiracies. That work has often been high-profile, for example, cases involving a local politician and a defendant who received disability benefits whilst working as a stage-actor.

As part of his fraud practice, Ben has amassed considerable experience of confiscation hearings. He prosecuted complex confiscation proceedings in a conspiracy involving drug importations valued at £1billion (without a leader). He was also a junior in a case where more than £2m was confiscated as a result of drugs offences (benefit figures were between £16 and £17million).

He has been successful in several hearings involving the determination of ownership of assets in accordance with the changes introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015. One case litigated over 2 weeks involved multiple defendants as well as a third party and resulted in the successful confiscation of more than half a million pounds worth of property. His experience extends to prosecuting specialist Queens Counsel in this area.

He has successfully appeared in the Court of Appeal in multiple cases including R v. Malhi [2016] EWCA Crim 2025 and R v. Muddassar [2017] EWCA Crim 382.

His experience also extends to restraint and enforcement hearings, encompassing legal argument in those fields and appearing in a related multi-track trial in the County Court, again on the issue of ownership of property.

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