Are you working with a client accused of leading a criminal lifestyle? Such accusations can be grave, and they can seriously jeopardise a person’s reputation, assets, and even their way of life. In this blog we will delve into the intricacies of defending against criminal lifestyle and POCA allegations. 

If you’re a solicitor navigating the complex landscape of cases involving criminal lifestyle (POCA) allegations, it’s essential that you approach every instance with meticulous attention to detail. Before delving into the intricacies of your client’s situation, it is imperative to recognise that the most robust defences hinge on a solid foundation of knowledge. 

Unravelling the complexities surrounding criminal lifestyle allegations under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is paramount if you want to effectively represent your clients and properly comprehend the potential implications they face. Gain insight into the nuances of POCA and fortify your legal strategy to ensure you can navigate these challenges properly.

Criminal Lifestyle Definition

A criminal lifestyle under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 refers to a way of life that is solely or partly financed by the proceeds of criminal activity. This includes offences that are: specified in Schedule 2 of the POCA (drug trafficking, money laundering, etc.), part of a wider course of criminal activity, committed over a period of 6+ months. 


The offences specified in Schedule 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Act are categorised under the following: 

  • Drug Offences 
  • Money Laundering 
  • Activities Relating to Terrorism 
  • People Trafficking 
  • Arms Trafficking 
  • Counterfeiting 
  • Intellectual Property 
  • Pimps and Brothels 
  • Blackmail
  • Inchoate offences

If you feel that any of the above may apply to your case, it is recommended that you contact an expert with a clear understanding of the exact offences included within Schedule 2 of the POCA. 

Such allegations of criminal lifestyle as part of POCA proceedings will likely result in confiscation of assets.  

Can you Defend Against Criminal Lifestyle (POCA) Allegations? 

Confronting allegations of criminal lifestyle under the Proceeds of Crime Act can be daunting. It’s crucial that you recognise that mounting a successful defence is not only possible, but often hinges on the strength of your legal team, the quality of evidence presented, and the strategic approach employed. 

Effectively defending against criminal lifestyle allegations demands a comprehensive strategy, frequently involving the expertise of a forensic accountant. The role of forensic accounting when defending against criminal lifestyle (POCA) allegations can be pivotal in aiding both individuals and organisations in their defence efforts. 

With such clear importance, engaging the services of an experienced and knowledgeable firm becomes paramount. A skilled forensic accountant can assist you in constructing a strong defence strategy, guiding you through the intricate details and nuances of your case. 

6 Tips for Defending Against Criminal Lifestyle (POCA) Allegations 

Defending against criminal lifestyle (POCA) allegations can be a highly complex and involved process, requiring a combination of legal expertise, financial analysis, and strategic planning. With the right team behind you, and a solid defence strategy in place, it is possible to effectively counter such allegations and protect your client’s assets and their reputation. 

Some key advice and things to consider when defending against criminal lifestyle (POCA) allegations include: 


Seek Expert Guidance 

As is the case with virtually all legal issues, engaging the services of a reputable and dedicated expert with experience in the situation of your case can be key. In this scenario, finding a forensic accounting firm with specific knowledge in defending against criminal lifestyle allegations can put you in a much better position. 

These specialists can help analyse financial records, identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and assist in developing as strong a defence strategy as possible. 

Additionally, a forensic accountant may be able to act as an expert witness on such a case. By providing their specialist knowledge and opinions regarding matters related to the case at hand, an expert witness can play a crucial role in legal proceedings. In the context of POCA allegations, forensic accountants are frequently called upon as a result of their expertise when it comes to financial matters, and their ability to accurately analyse complex financial data. 

Document All Legitimate Income 

When a person is accused of living a criminal lifestyle as part of an ongoing POCA case, it is important that you gather and organise any and all documentation that they have that could prove that income originated from a legal and legitimate source. Common documents that can help in this regard include: 

  • Recent Tax Returns 
  • Pay Stubs 
  • Investment Statements
  • Business Records 

Outline Lifestyle Changes 

If the defendant is being chased regarding a criminal lifestyle, and they have made any significant lifestyle changes in order to distance themselves from any criminality, it is crucial that this is documented. 

Lifestyle changes that could apply here include them entering into a rehabilitation program and obtaining legitimate employment. 

Always Cooperate With Authorities 

Being open and remaining consistently cooperative with law enforcement can be hugely advantageous. It is therefore important that you advise your client to always cooperate with ongoing investigations and take crucial steps to address, and meet head on, any outstanding legal issues they might be faced with. 

Build a Robust Defence 

Once you have a legal team in place that you trust to support you on the case, you need to work as closely as possible with them to build as robust and effective a defence as you can. 

You should aim to challenge the prosecution’s evidence, question the validity of highlighted financial transactions, and present a strong case in court.

Guarantee Your Future is in Safe Hands 

As you’ve ventured into the complex landscape of formulating a defence against criminal lifestyle (POCA) allegations, you’ve likely come to realise that this journey will demand not only significant legal prowess, but also financial acumen. Inquesta Forensic Accounting is more than just a firm; we are your ally in the face of adversity. 

When your client’s entire future is in the balance, you will want a team of experts who can bring greater clarity to your position, no matter how complex the financial matters are. With Inquesta Forensic’s team of accountants by your side, you gain all of the benefits of an experienced accountant who understands the nuances of defending against criminal lifestyle allegations. 

Our service acts to ensure that you don’t feel like just another case — your peace of mind and the ultimate success of your case are paramount. Contact Inquesta Forensic today and learn more about how our expertise can be the key to safeguarding your future in the face of criminal lifestyle (POCA) allegations.

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