The Serious Fraud Office investigates serious or complex fraud. Our priorities lie with cases where:
- There are multiple victims (usually investors) of the suspected fraud
- Those allegedly involved are in important positions of trust
- The alleged criminal transactions have significant legal or financial complexity beyond the resources of most other law enforcement agencies
- There are allegations of bribery and corruption.
- In the case of bribery or corruption matters, we focus on crimes involving public officials, which could undermine public confidence in the administration of laws.
We do not become involved in matters of tax evasion, identity fraud or civil disputes.
No, anyone is able to make a complaint to the Serious Fraud Office.
We prefer you to report the crime directly because you know the full details of the alleged offence. However, we understand there are certain circumstances, such as distress or personal safety, where reporting the crime yourself can be very difficult. In these circumstances you can report a crime through a trusted friend, family member or professional adviser.
A complaint can initially be made without supporting documents. But documentation may be required before the matter can be formally assessed. If you have a suspicion a fraud may have been committed, you are welcome to submit it to us. (Further guidance can be provided at that stage.)
The SFO records interviews digitally. Depending upon the nature of the interview you may be asked to attend the SFO premises in Auckland. Any travel expenses for people based outside Auckland would be met by the SFO. Alternatively, you may be visited by members of the SFO at another suitable location.
Yes you can, however the interviewers will ask your support person to refrain from answering questions on your behalf. The purpose of the interview would be to record your story in your own words.
No. All complaints are treated in complete confidence during an initial investigation. However, if the matter proceeds to a prosecution, it may be necessary for you to give evidence as a witness. If you have concerns about confidentiality, please contact the SFO.
The recovery of losses is generally a civil matter. We only conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions, although there are avenues under the Sentencing Act 2002 for reparation. You would be encouraged to seek advice from an appropriately qualified and experienced legal practitioner to consider your options for civil recovery.
Because the matters we investigate are very complex, often with many thousands of documents to examine, an investigation usually takes at least six months.
If you have been asked to attend an interview on a voluntary basis you are entitled to decline the interview or choose not to answer questions if you do not wish to. The SFO does have the power to compel a person to attend an interview and answer questions pursuant to section 9 of the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990. If you have been required to attend a section 9 interview you must attend at the time and place specified and answer questions put to you. Failure to do so is an offence.
On sentencing, a judge will take into consideration factors such as the age of the defendant, their background and criminal history, guilty plea, whether they have paid any reparation and whether they have shown any remorse.
Aggravating factors such as the impact on victims, the duration of the offending, level of trust that has been abused and continuation of offending during the investigation on prosecution can also be taken into account.
If you are directly involved in a case, then the SFO will inform you of the verdict. Otherwise, the SFO will usually post a media release publicising a verdict and this would also be posted on this website.
There are many things that influence the length of a trial so it’s impossible to say. The majority of SFO cases are large and complex and involve many witnesses, meaning the trial may go on for weeks. If the case continues for weeks or months, you won’t be expected to attend Court for the entire period. (You will normally only have to attend court on the day that you have to give evidence.)
A defendant can appeal against the sentence or conviction or both. If the defendant is convicted and appeals the conviction, the entire trial may need to be heard again, meaning you may have to give your evidence again. If it is only the sentence in dispute, a judge may consider the appeal and decide whether to change the sentence or not.
The SFO will provide you with a Ministry of Justice expense claim form.
This sets out what you can claim for, including expenses for travel (if we have not arranged this for you).
There may be a number of hearings to deal with legal issues before the trial begins. These hearings could relate to the admissibility of evidence, name suppression or other issues to do with the trial.
Generally speaking, more complicated cases will take longer to get to trial. These will also require more hearings beforehand, because the prosecution and defence have more preparation to do. It is unlikely that you will have to attend these hearings. But if you are required, you will be notified in advance.
The prosecutor and the defence lawyer will tell the Court how long they think the trial will take, and how many witnesses will have to give evidence. If the case is long and complicated, it may not be possible to list it for trial at that hearing, because more work has to be done. If this is the case it will be listed for trial at a later court hearing, once everyone is ready to proceed.
The Court will then endeavour to fix a date for trial that is convenient for all witnesses, although this may not be always possible especially if it will result in a long delay to the trial date.