There are more cases than ever brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
It is on a strict timetable and can be very costly if you get it wrong.
Stage 1 – The prosecution will serve a statement and within that will state a figure which they have calculated to be the benefit from your crime.
It is up to you to challenge their figure which is always at the highest level. If you don’t it could mean that you have to sell your home and possessions to satisfy the order. The Prosecution do get their valuations wrong, which is why we make sure the figures they provide are backed up evidentially. This sometimes means getting experts involved.
Stage 2 – Realisable Amount
Once the value has been calculated it is over to you to show that you do not have the means to pay and this is what is called the realisable amount.
For example; the prosecution may say your assets are worth £750,000 when in reality they are worth half of that. We gather the evidence to prove that they are worth much less than the prosecution has suggested. If we cannot agree we present an argument backed up with documentary evidence for a Judge to decide.
The same applies for all your possessions. If you get it wrong the financial implications are huge.
Stage 3 – Order is made
If you don’t pay the order within the time specified, a term of imprisonment is imposed in default. If you serve that time the debt doesn’t go away. You still remain liable to pay when you are released.
Certain offences under Section 2 of the Act specify offences which the prosecution can say you have a “criminal lifestyle”, money laundering is an example. In such cases they can go back 6 years into everything you have acquired and they assume that it was all as a result of the crime. It is for you to show that it wasn’t.
Envisage going back through bank statements for 6 years? Identifying all transactions and proving where it all came from? It is a painstaking exercise but one that has to be done. It applies to every single transaction made over a certain amount that you have to prove was a legitimate transaction and back it up with evidence.
At Ralli Solicitors LLP we have the expertise to dissect each step of the prosecution case. We have successfully challenged these cases over many years. The timetables set are strict and it is crucial you get the experts on your side from the outset. If you don’t the consequences for you and your family can be devastating.
For help and assistance on queries relating to confiscation proceedings, contact our criminal defence team on 0161 615 0660 or get in touch by filling out one of our online enquiry forms.