The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) has far reaching powers, some of which are vested in law enforcement authorities in relevant cases of fraud, money laundering, business crime and other related offences. The primary purpose of POCA is to ensure that the wealth or assets amassed through criminal means otherwise known as proceeds of crime are recovered from the offender, where possible. The logic behind this being that those who are charged with and subsequently found guilty of related offences are not sending out the erroneous message that ‘crime pays’ to others. As such, the seizure and forfeiture of cash as well as confiscation of assets such as properties, boats, yacht, automobiles and other valuable possessions believed to have been bought from proceeds of crime has witnessed significant increase since the 2002 Act came into force. Gold confiscation, given the economic value of gold, has also been on the rise.
Anyone facing charges of serious fraud, white collar crime, money laundering, drug related offences, tax evasion, MTIC fraud and other related criminal offences may find themselves faced with asset confiscation, restraint orders, property freezing orders, civil recovery order proceedings, and cash seizure and forfeiture under POCA. The minimum amount of cash that can be seized by investigating authorities is £1,000. The Serious Organised Crime Agency recently reported the seizure of more than £5.6 million in 2010.
We completely understand the impact cash seizure and forfeiture as well as asset confiscation can have on your personal and business live. Our first and most important advice to clients facing asset forfeiture and cash seizure is that immediate action must be taken. If you do nothing, the probability that you will never see the cash and/or assets seized again becomes very high. In cases where POCA has effectively intercepted ill gotten wealth and reintroduced to society are indeed applaudable. However and quite regrettably, there are numerous other occasions where assets and cash are seized, causing the suspect significant hardship without duly substantiated evidence against the suspect.
London criminal defence and POCA experts
Our POCA specialists have significant experience in challenging the seizure, forfeiture and confiscation of cash and assets from our clients where the Prosecution’s case against them falls short of adequate evidence. It is sometimes necessary for us to call on the expertise of forensic accountants, where relevant, to go through every piece of information and evidence against our clients. Our asset recovery lawyers have extensive knowledge of confiscation law and many years of experience in the preparation, presentation and full representation of clients’ on confiscation proceedings. We have a proven track record of successfully challenging applications for forfeiture and recovering our clients’ seized cash as well as confiscated assets. For a most confidential and discreet discourse about your case, please call to speak to one of our asset recovery experts today or send us an enquiry email with your contact details. One of our solicitors will contact you within 24 hours.