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Proceeds of Crime

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) provides a broad range of powers to the police (and other law enforcement authorities) to block, freeze, restrain, or seize assets on the basis of their connection with alleged offences or offenders. These powers fall broadly into two categories, criminal confiscation and civil recovery.
Confiscation under POCA is aimed at making orders against convicted offenders to pay a sum equivalent to the benefit they have obtained from crime. To make this more effective, POCA also enables the Crown Court to make a Restraint Order over a suspect’s available assets, and/or to appoint receivers to manage those assets. Importantly, the definitions of benefit and assets under this part of POCA are extremely broad, which means that suspects and third parties can be at risk of losing their homes, bank accounts, and other assets, even those with no connection to crime.

Civil recovery under POCA is a system for seizing and forfeiting assets on the basis that they are or represent the proceeds of crime (without a conviction), and includes a system at the magistrates’ court dealing with cash either on that basis, or because it is intended for use in crime.

If you have been convicted of a Criminal Offence and the Prosecution have indicated that they intend to start Confiscation Proceedings under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 then you require specialist advice.

The Prosecution will seek to value your benefit from Crime and in the case where they allege you have lived a Criminal Lifestyle can submit a presumption that  any unidentified income and expenditure that has been made for up to 6 years before charge is also the Proceeds of Crime and add that to any benefit figure . It wil be a matter for your defence to rebut that presumption. Having identifed a Benefit Figure the prosecution  will then identify any assets that are available for confiscatiuon upto the value of the benefit figure.  There are coccasions when assets of third parties will be identified  if the prosecution believe they have been hidden or passed on to avoid confiscation..

Once a Confiscatiion Order has been made the suspect has 6 months in which to pay it in full. If payment is not made then a default period of imprisonment is imposed as follows:

Order Amount  Maximum Term
£10,000 or less      6 months
More than £10,000 but no more than £500,000  5 years
More than £500,000 but no more than £1 million 7 years
More than £1 million   14 years

Morgan Brown and Company provides expert advice to individuals and businesses whose assets are threatened by these regimes, including third parties in possession of cash or other assets under threat. Call us today if this applies to you.