High levels of fraud are still being detected in the West Midlands – and experts think the worst is still to come.

The latest KPMG Fraud Barometer study found 21 cases involving sums of more than £100,000 and with a cumulative value of £94 million went before the region’s courts in the first six months of the year.

While lower than in the same period in 2008, when the total reached £123 million, it was still higher than the national average, KPMG said yesterday.

“Local fraud figures remain alarmingly high and it is likely to take a number of years before the impact of the recession fully feeds through into the statistics,” said Jonathan Lovell, head of KPMG Forensic in the Midlands, said.

“There is no doubt that these figures are set to increase.

“Hard times mean more people driven to fraud by personal pressures and more investors willing to believe in cooked up investment schemes.

“Companies too remain vulnerable to the threat within – their staff – as evidenced by the £150 million of UK fraud that managers have been tried for the last six months alone,” Mr Lovell added.

Nationally, more than 160 cases of serious fraud came before the courts, the highest number for a six-months period in the 21-year history of the Fraud Barometer.

Cases ranged from scams by professional gangs, including the attempted fraudulent sale of the Ritz Hotel in London, to a construction company secretary in Liverpool who treated herself to plastic surgery and holidays worth £600,000 after diverting wages into her own bank account.

“Britain’s fraud problem remains a serious one and the local picture is no different,” Mr Lovell said.

“The authorities have become very active in the fight against fraud.”