The business community is increasingly concerned over the increase in fraudulent activity arising from individuals legally changing their names. The reason for changing a name is generally quite harmless but in some cases the underlying motives could cause problems for businesses with people discarding old names and adopting new ones in order to avoid criminal liability or facilitate fraudulent activity. This can create a veritable minefield for those businesses considering either recruitment or expansion. Businesses and directors could find themselves criminally and financially liable for the actions of their employees.
Commenting, Gerald Irwin of Sutton Coldfield based Chartered Accountants, Licensed Insolvency Practitioners and Business Advisers, Irwin Insolvency said, “The most sensible way to avoid liability is to prove beyond reasonable doubt that preventative steps have been taken to avoid the perpetration of offences. A change of name does not relieve an individual of their obligation to disclose criminal convictions received under a different name.”
By far the best approach for businesses to take, therefore, is to be highly proactive and totally transparent.
“If there are every any concerns about an individual’s identity it is vital to record them and take all possible steps to alleviate them. If concerns are satisfactorily eliminated, make an appropriate record. If they are not then the best advice is not to employ that individual at all as it will make it much harder, further down the line, to prove that all reasonable measures were taken to avoid any fraudulent activity in the business,” added Mr. Irwin.