LEVELS of fraud committed in Scotland during the first six months of this year are more than 60% higher than those for the same period in 2012, according to a new report.

An increase of 61% has been recorded by KPMG's Fraud Barometer. It reveals the majority was due to embezzlement and tax fraud.

One suspected case involves a former solicitor accused of embezzling £570,000 from clients. He denies the allegations. In a separate case, a bank worker was alleged to have defrauded customers of £415,000.

The courts in Scotland have dealt with five cases of high-value fraud, worth more than £100,000, in the first six months of this year. While this is the same number of cases as in the same period last year, the total value has risen from £1,160,252 to £1,868,548 .

Ken Milliken, from KPMG in Scotland, said: "Con artists remain the order of the day, with several high-profile cases highlighting that employees are still quite happy to risk all to increase their bank balances.

"This trend is at odds with what we are seeing across the UK, where professional criminals are having a major impact on increasing levels of fraud."

Across the UK, the value of fraud cases in the first half of 2013 was more than £500m – which signals more than a 25% increase on last year, according to the report.

Hitesh Patel, from UK KPMG, said: "What is clear from this year's report is that fraud is on the up and remains a huge cost to Government and the private sector.

"It is a welcome development to see that the Government continues its fight against white-collar crime.

"A very severe punishment regime is being proposed in the sentencing guidelines consultation paper issued recently to tackle the growing scourge of white-collar crime, and the acknowledgment that the real cost of fraud is more than just financial."

The figures from the first six months of 2013 show that, in the UK, 86% of frauds were committed by men and 95% by people over the age of 35.