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Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)/Confiscation Proceedings

Confiscation proceedings can be brought by the prosecuting authorities following conviction for any offence where it is felt that a financial benefit has been obtained by the defendant.

The agencies have extensive and draconian powers to freeze and even to confiscate assets both in the civil and criminal courts. You are at risk of considerable periods of imprisonment if you fail to pay the confiscation order, but this does not mean they cannot be challenged.

When facing confiscation proceedings, using an expert Proceeds of Crime Act solicitor is important to ensure that you achieve the best result.

At ABR Solicitors, we have a team of expert POCA solicitors all of whom are experienced in preparing cases and have a strong track record of success. We are often asked to take over cases after people have become disillusioned with the work of their solicitors in this area.

Our expert solicitors can guide you through every stage of your case, ensuring that you receive proper advice and tactical guidance.

We are increasingly instructed by individuals and businesses facing multi-million pound confiscation applications as a result of our expertise in these types of applications.

We know just how devastating the effect of these orders can be, and the paramount importance of the proper advice and tactics from the very outset.

Key contacts in this area are Rob Rode and Andrew Stewardson.

Our Proceeds of Crime Act lawyers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can be at your side for every stage of confiscation proceedings.

How our Proceeds of Crime Act solicitors can help you

We can help you if you find yourself facing:

  • Confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act
  • Section 22 applications to increase the available amount
  • Cash/account seizure and forfeiture proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court
  • Restraint orders
  • POCA civil recovery proceedings
  • Third party interests

Protecting assets wrongly included within confiscation proceedings

Confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act often involve attempts by the prosecution to confiscate assets which potentially belong to third parties.

It is not unusual for the prosecution to claim that assets such as properties, vehicles and bank accounts are available assets for confiscation when a third party such as a husband, wife, other family member or business associate is the owner or has an interest in the asset.

The Proceeds of Crime Act allows such third parties to join in the confiscation proceedings and state their claim to the asset in question. They are able to apply to be separately represented in the confiscation hearing and call evidence to establish the ownership of the asset.

If you believe that an asset belonging to you has been wrongly included within confiscation proceedings, it is important to act before the final confiscation order is made. We have significant experience in dealing with these matters and are happy to discuss your potential application.

Our experience with Proceeds of Crime Act confiscations

Proceeds of Crime Act case study

BPI-v-W (Newcastle Crown Court) – Confiscation proceedings brought by the British Phonographic Industry.

The proceedings involved the reconstruction of all company spending over a 6-year period from both original material and suppliers including applications for over 50 witness summonses.

The prosecution sought a benefit figure of over £4 million pounds before agreeing an amount just over £2 million pounds. The prosecution sought a finding of hidden assets at the same value as the benefit figure before eventually agreeing an available amount at a little over one hundred thousand pounds. The defence were also successful in excluding the defendant’s wife’s home from the eventual order.

Notable confiscation proceedings in which our team were involved

We have been instructed in several multi-million pound confiscation proceedings, including several cases where the firm has been instructed by the client post-conviction specifically to handle the confiscation proceedings, including:

  • R v T – Confiscation following the conviction of an internet banking fraudster who was part of a Dark Market internet fraud site, and was once on the FBI most wanted list
  • R v Y – Multi-million pound confiscation proceedings involving a prominent local businessman following conviction of theft and mortgage fraud
  • The widely reported R v Shabir [2008] EWCA Crim 1809 – confiscation order quashed as an abuse of process
  • R v F – Confiscation proceedings relating to a £600k phoenix company fraud
  • R v H – Confiscation proceedings involving a £1m benefit figure claim following trade descriptions offences
  • R v S – Confiscation proceedings involving an allegation of hidden assets in Vietnam
  • R v M – £7m benefit figure claim was reduced to £300k benefit figure
  • R v S – Confiscation proceedings following a BIS prosecution with issues relating to piercing the corporate veil and the benefit figure of director acting whilst disqualified
  • R v S – Third party interest claim relating to property held in name of husband convicted of drug offences
  • R v M & M – Represented third parties in High Court enforcement receiver applications and also in SOCA civil recovery proceedings – assets were preserved for clients in both cases
  • R v C – Certificate of inadequacy application concerning diminution of value of assets held in Norway and Switzerland
  • Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) Proceeds of Crime Act civil recovery proceedings concerning executive pension scheme

Speak to our Proceeds of Crime Act solicitors today

If you need immediate expert advice and representation in relation to confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act, please contact your local ABR Solicitors office in Leeds, Liverpool, London or Nottingham.