Proceeds of Crime and Confiscation
We specialise in defending clients who are subject to Confiscation Proceedings (often prosecuted under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or in some circumstances via Criminal Justice Act 1988 and Drugs Trafficking Act 1994).
The provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) are extremely powerful and their effective procedures can have tragic consequences, not just for defendants, but also very often for your spouses, business partners, parents and children.
The initial stages of the confiscation procedure will start following a conviction for a relevant offence, such as money laundering, fraud and drug offences. This is undoubtedly a worrying time for any person who finds themselves in this situation.
Prior to the Court making a Confiscation Order, a great deal of work must be undertaken to minimise the damage to your assets. We pride ourselves on the hard working and fast acting approach we take during the initial stages of confiscation cases.
Prior to a Confiscation Order being made, various statements will need to be filed. To develop the most robust case, extensive evidence usually needs to be obtained and detailed statements need to be prepared. We adopt a through and detailed approach to all POCA cases and regularly achieve favourable outcomes for clients.
The state has never had such wide-ranging and formidable powers to tackle the proceeds of crime, both pre and post-conviction. In many cases, defendants face a confiscation or restraint order when a prosecution is highly unlikely.
Without expert advice, defendants are at a real risk of an order based upon "hidden assets" that may not even exist.
We act for defendants and third parties. Our solicitors also have extensive experienced acting on matters involving the Serious Fraud Office, as well as the CPS.
We believe it is absolutely vital for clients to seek expert professional advice at the earliest stage, as it can have a hugely beneficial effect on the ultimate outcome of a case.
What can we help you with?
Allegations made by bodies including the Serious Fraud Office or HMRC, can have a significantly detrimental effect on your ability to trade, even before a prosecution has begun. They have the power to obtain pre-charge Restraint Orders against you, which will effectively freeze your assets and quite possibly have a disastrous effect on you and your business.
The imposition of a Restraint Order can also causes other substantial complications, particularly if you jointly own property with other people either in a business or personal context. Such orders also only permit a small weekly allowance that many people find very difficult to adjust to.
It is essential you seek legal advice as soon as possible since we can assist in applying to the court to vary, relax, and in certain circumstances, even discharge a Restraint Order.
Confiscation Orders are generally made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 following on from a conviction. We can negotiate with prosecuting authorities on your behalf to preserve as much of your assets as possible and can also represent you in any contested court proceedings.
Once a Confiscation Order has been made, you are required to satisfy it by paying the sum ordered by a given date specified by the court. If you cannot pay, or do not comply with this, then the court has the power to impose a default prison term as specified when the order was made. Even after the prison term has been served the debt remains due.
We can advise and assist in applying to the court for variation or discharge in certain circumstance, such as when your assets are insufficient to meet the sum ordered because your assets failed to achieve their previously anticipated sale value.