Winners of the 2021 Tackling Economic Crime Awards (TECAs) announced

The winners of the third edition of the Tackling Economic Crime Awards (TECAs) were announced on Monday 6th December at a virtual awards show where representatives from across the financial crime sector tuned in live to celebrate the outstanding achievements of all the finalists and winners.

Founder of the TECAs, Professor Martin Gill hosted the awards and was helped by Alan Dedicoat (known by many as the ‘The Voice of the Balls’), sponsors and judges.

Martin Gill noted that the past 18-months had provided both challenges and opportunities and this year had seen the most entries since the inception of the awards 3 years ago – clearly demonstrating the excellent work that is taking place in the flight against all areas of economic crime.

Commissioner Ian Dyson QPM of the City of London Police made a guest appearance where he reflected on his time as the chief officer lead on economic crime pending his imminent retirement from policing.

The winners were selected by an independent panel of judges, and the awards were presented in 12 categories to public, private and third sector organisations and people.

The 2021 winners are:

Outstanding Team
HMRC Fraud Investigation Service, Cardiff and the RIS Financial Development Team, London
HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service and Risk Intelligence Service worked dynamically to disrupt and stop a systematic cyber-attack on HMRC’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Through their innovation and tenacity, they secured over £26.5m in criminal funds and blocked £80m in further fraudulent claims.  They worked alongside law enforcement and intelligence partners, preventing similar frauds taking place overseas and worked closely with financial institutions in the private sector to improve and advance techniques when tackling financial crime. 

It is an honour to receive this prestigious award, especially when up against such great competition in this category. We would like to thank the judges and sponsors of the Tackling Economic Crime Awards for recognising us this year. We would also like to thank HMRC’s Fiscal Crime Liaison network, the Fraud Investigation Service Cyber team and the RIS JMLIT network, in particular Sabrina Browning, whose support and dedication greatly contributed towards the success of Operation Walkden.

This award recognises not just the efforts of individual teams, but highlights the success HMRC can achieve with excellent collaboration, utilising our expertise across different work areas to tackle criminals and protect public funds.

Alex Barnett, Senior Investigation Officer, Organised Crime, Cardiff – HMRC Fraud Investigation Service

Outstanding Manager or Director
Neil Green – Government Internal Audit Agency
Neil’s outstanding leadership has seen GIAA’s Counter Fraud team improve and innovate year-on-year.  From delivering to one Department in 2016, Neil has developed a holistic counter fraud service that has actively supported and helped build capability across more than 75 government organisations.  Neil is a proud and passionate advocate for the Government Counter Fraud Profession, helping shape policy, offering strategic insights and committing resources to the ongoing development of the profession.  Judges felt Neil had an incredibly impressive breadth of engagement, sustained leadership and was a champion of the professionalisation of counter fraud.

Outstanding Policing Initiative
Economic Crime Operations and Strategy Teams Civil Recovery Workstream – HMRC Fraud Investigation Service
The Civil Recovery initiative of HMRC’s Economic Crime Operations and Strategy teams uses the range of powers available to HMRC to target the assets of those involved in organised tax fraud and other serious criminal activities.  In one case alone, by combining tax expertise with the experience of recovery specialists, intelligence and legal professionals, over £1m was secured for the public revenue in just eight weeks through the use of a civil freezing order.  Judges felt that the use of a collaborative approach clearly demonstrates the benefits achievable to the disruption of criminal activity affecting the public purse which is sustainable and impactive.

Awards like this really do give teams the boost of knowing that the impact of their work doesn’t go un-noticed: none of us are in this field for prizes, but we really are grateful for the recognition, and to the TECAs for raising the profile of all of the great efforts so many different agencies and individuals are making to tackle Economic Crime.

Gareth Marklew, VAT Lead for Economic Crime – HMRC, Fraud Investigation Service – Economic Crime Strategy

Outstanding Customer Service Initiative
NatWest and Nuance – Tackling Fraud Together
Using Nuance’s voice biometric and fraud detection technology, NatWest has been able to securely allow 50,000 colleagues to work from home during the course of the pandemic and enable them to continue to authenticate their customers effectively.  In fact, in less than a year, NatWest has screened 17 million inbound calls with Nuance technologies.  Of these, 23,000 have led to alerts, and the bank has found that one in every 3,500 calls is a fraud attempt.  Judges felt that this initiative demonstrated a clear articulation of how voice biometrics makes it easier for honest customers and can detect and disrupt fraudsters.

We feel extremely honoured to win the Outstanding Customer Service Initiative Award for our work with Natwest at this year’s Tackling Economic Crime Awards.

For businesses, fraud has always been a challenge to manage, but with the explosion of digital channels, organisations today are faced with securing an increasingly complex ecosystem. At the same time, fraudsters are getting more sophisticated, working through networks and social engineering their way into accounts to commit intricate, devastating crimes.

Against this backdrop, we couldn’t be more proud to work with the team Natwest and be part of their digital journey. By using voice biometrics to screen every incoming  call and compare voice characteristics, they are now able to protect their customers, reduce financial losses and stop potential fraudsters in their tracks

Simon Marchand, Chief Fraud Prevention Officer, Security & Biometrics Line of Business at Nuance Communications

Outstanding Partnership
Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) Tax Crime and Evasion Threat Group
The Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) Tax Crime and Evasion Threat Group comprises tax and financial crime experts from law enforcement and financial institutions.  This public-private partnership has a long-term strategic vision to embed bilateral and multilateral collaborative public-private sector working on high priority tax threats.  Successes include robust legislative changes, ‘Alert’ products, and the disruption of crime across numerous threat areas, leading to arrests and securing multi-millions.   Judges felt that this was an extremely successful partnership clearly demonstrating the benefits of effective collaboration engagement addressing global tax threats.

We are very proud that our JMLIT Tax Crime and Evasion Threat Group has been selected as the winner of the ‘Outstanding Partnership’ TECA category. All members from across law enforcement and the private sector regularly demonstrate an impressive level of trust, passion and dedication to our mission. We are delighted that the partnership members have received well deserved recognition for their hard work and dedication to always going that extra mile to support, educate and collaborate with others, including international partners. Congratulations to all the other winners and finalists and our thanks to the organisers, the TECAs was a truly inspiring event!

Stacey Mills-Kelly, Assistant Director, Head of Strategies – HMRC Fraud Investigation Service

Outstanding Training Initiative
DCPCU Protect Team
Designed to engage with the financial industry and the public, Catriona Still and Paul Maskall from the DCPCU Protect team deliver innovative fraud and cybercrime training.  Since October 2020 with the addition of Paul, the teams’ strategy was reformed and the DCPCU Focus Sessions were born.  This allowed the banks to directly feedback their greatest difficulties and identify the biggest impacts upon victims. Cryptocurrency and the Psychology of Fraud have become some of the most popular topics.  Judges felt the training/awareness sessions provided, met the specific needs identified by customers and had clear and tangible benefits to the sector.

We are absolutely delighted to have won this highly acclaimed award and selected above the other amazing finalist in our category. Since joining the team Paul Maskall has brought a new dimension and his deliveries on Cryptocurrency and the psychology of fraud have proven to be popular with those in the payment industry. Thank you!

Catriona Still, Head of Fraud Prevention & Training DCPCU

Outstanding New Product
HSBC Fraud and Cyber Awareness App
The HSBC Fraud and Cyber Awareness mobile app is the first standalone fraud awareness app by a major UK bank; designed to keep all UK businesses up to date with the latest fraud trends, scams and cyberattacks.  The main features include Alerts: notifications informing of emerging trends; Guides: fraud terminology descriptions; Articles: includes real life stories; Videos: engaging content explaining fraud trends.  Judges felt that the app was a useful tool for business customers and demonstrated value to end users.

We’re proud to see the HSBC Fraud and Cyber Awareness App selected as a winner for the Outstanding New Product award at the 2021 Tackling Economic Crime Awards. The HSBC Fraud and Cyber Awareness app was designed as a free app for all UK businesses, helping to keep them up to date with the latest fraud trends and scams. We’re delighted to see the team’s efforts have been recognised. Our aim is to provide fraud awareness, via the app, to as many businesses as possible (whether a HSBC customer or not)! This award will help share the news with an even wider audience and we thank the organisers for hosting a fantastic awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!

Martyn Pointer, Business Innovation Manager for HSBC UK who has led the development and deployment of the app

Outstanding Investigator
David Campbell – HMRC
HMRC is faced with increasingly complex frauds committed by well-resourced and digitally informed criminal groups.  With this, brings significant challenges for investigators in how to acquire data and to understand what data is available and the tactics to exploit it and drive an efficient investigation.  Dave has expertise and deep knowledge in understanding the complexities of a 21st Century telecommunications network and how mobile devices interact with it.  He understands ANPR system capability, how to exploit open-source data and has expert knowledge in the use of mapping software.   Judges felt that Dave was a highly skilled specialist able to deliver high profiled outcomes with the willingness and ability to train others in his field of expertise. 

Thank you for the message of congratulations and winning a TECA.

It’s great to see HMRC receiving so many nominations and its clear there’s a lot of great work being carried out across the department. It was also great to hear about partner agencies across the awards.

In true Oscars style – please see my response: –

It’s been a real joy to be able to showcase exactly what a Digital Investigator within Covert ops can do. Obviously, none of this is possible without the supportive management within DSI and the many teams across the department (Fraud Investigation Service & Risk & Intelligence Service).

Providing us access to tools such as Longarm, Enhanced Open Source, National ANPR Service & CHORUS is what allows us to really drill down into objectives to then achieve results in a very unique way.

I’m personally very excited for the year ahead now that we are recruiting more Digital Investigators into the National Digital Investigation Unit (NDIU) where I hope we can continue to build on success. I am sure we will be able to solidify ourselves as a key centre for excellence for all matters Digital Investigation.

We are in such a strong position and it is critical for success that we are able to work in close collaboration with key partners to achieve even more positive outcomes

Thank you all & well done everyone!

David Campbell, HMRC, FIS – DSI

Outstanding Prevention Initiative
National Trading Standards Scams Team / Call Blockers
The National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team helps tackle mass marketing scams and disrupts the operations of perpetrators behind mail scams. It works in partnership with agencies across the country to identify and support victims of mass marketing fraud.  The team provides guidance, best practice and establishes a centre of excellence to assist local authorities in supporting local victims and taking local enforcement action.  Judges felt this is a highly targeted initiative whose benefits are well evidenced; helping to protect and prevent fraud against the most vulnerable.

We are so proud to receive this award in recognition of the hard work that the National trading Standards Scams Team has put in to provide over 3000 vulnerable consumers with a tool that stops 99% scam and nuisance calls being received. This project will have stopped nearly two million calls coming through allowing people to feel safer in their own homes without fear of being scammed on the phone – A big congratulations to all who were nominated, it’s clear to see that there is some great work going on. Thank you TECAs

Adam Carter, Senior Project Officer, National Trading Standards Scams Team

Outstanding Young Professional
Samuel Dean – HMRC
Sam’s career has centred around tackling offshore tax evasion and the enablers and facilitators of criminality.  He’s developed and led HMRC’s approach to tackle enablers and currently leads an international action group to help OECD countries develop their own approach.  Sam is a leading authority on the Corporate Criminal Offence and, through keynote speeches, webinars, podcasts and journal articles, has become a trusted and leading voice in the UK’s economic fraud landscape.  Judges felt that Sam was a clear leader in his field, not only has he driven national changes he also achieved an international stage.  A person who is clearly motivated to continue learning and improving within his work area.

I was delighted to win this award amongst a really competitive field. It’s always great to receive recognition from your peers and a huge thank you to all my colleagues who have helped along the way. It was really encouraging to hear about all the great work being done to tackle economic crime across the public, private and third sector and long may it continue!

Samuel Dean, Assistant Director, FIS, Head of Agents, Enablers & International Partnerships

Outstanding Tackling Economic Crime Professional
Claire Jenkins MSc FCCA – Companies House
Claire is a multiple TECAs winner.  She has been described as a “counter-fraud powerhouse” because of her passion and determination in identifying fraud and dishonesty.  Working with others in a proactive way, she actively challenges the status quo, looking for solutions.   Her expertise and work with others have seen her identify and tackle £200m of fraud so far. A skilled communicator, Claire uses her high profile to promote the counter fraud message at conferences and giving masterclasses on identifying fictitious accounts.  Judges noted that Claire was an individual who appeared not to take no for an answer and fights to achieve success in her field and her passion shines through brightly.

To be recognised once again for my passion and determination in fighting fraud and economic crime is exciting and humbling in equal measure.  I am proud that my hard work was recognised by the judges within this new category.  To win a TECA as a fraud fighter is being recognised by leaders in the field for what you do, which is praise of the highest order.

Claire Jenkins MSc, FCCA, Forensic Accountant, Integrity & Enforcement Unit

Lifetime Achievement
Paul Bamford – HMRC
Paul has had a long and distinguished career in HM Revenue & Customs and its precursor HM Customs & Excise.  He is a professional, knowledgeable, trusted colleague and friend.  Many of his colleagues, both in HMRC and other Agencies and Departments, sought his guidance on a wide range of matters which attests to the level of respect that he is held in.  In over 41 years of service, Paul has carried out investigations into some of the UK’s most serious and organised criminals.  He has championed cross-agency working in tackling economic crime, recognising the benefits of bringing to bear the specialist capabilities of different departments and agencies against criminals.    Judges felt that Paul was clearly “an outstanding star” in his field, hardworking, dedicated and a trusted individual who had made an impact in tackling economic crime over many years.

I am extremely proud to have received the Lifetime Achievement Award. To be recognised in this way by my colleagues and other professionals is truly humbling.

Paul Bamford MBE – HMRC Strategic Relationship Manager within the NCA

The event organisers would like to thank all those who helped make the TECAs such a success, including: associations and their representative judges; sponsors – Altia; Cifas and Nineteen Group; and media partners – Security Matters; International Security Expo, International Cyber Expo and the Investigator magazine.

A copy of the live stream can be viewed here.

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