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PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT (POCA) CONFISCATION

Our team of expert forensic accountants have an in-depth understanding of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and are able to analyse and unravel complicated chains of data to follow money and find its source.

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Why Use Forensic Accountants for a Confiscation Order Under the Proceeds of Crime Act

The initial statements in confiscation order proceedings can be particularly harsh. Instructing a forensic accountant can provide a huge advantage in combating this. An experienced forensic accountant will attempt to lower any excessive amount stated in the confiscation order, as well as attempt to prove that the amount a defendant benefited by way of criminal activity is actually less than stated. 

The aim of the initial statement in a confiscation order is to take the total sum of money a person has come by unlawfully, but it is not uncommon that this figure is in reality much lower than the amount that is expected to be paid back. 

This altering of the benefit amount is important for the client because traditionally the sentence for crimes that fall under the Proceeds of Crime Act is handed out on a scale that depends on how much of the amount charged goes unpaid. The lower the amount, the better chance the defendant will have of paying it off and getting a better sentence. 

The expertise a forensic accountant can offer a client involved in a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act can be huge. Their proficiency with data and numbers can allow them to uncover clear and relevant data regarding legitimate income and separate it from the benefit figure. They can also trace payments between multiple sources and prove their legitimacy.

Proceeds of Crime Act Defence: What You Need to Know

The Proceeds of Crime Act sets out the key legislation surrounding the recovery of assets acquired via criminal means. The most common method of recovery is confiscation, but recovery can also take the guise of cash seizure, taxation powers, and more. 

The main goal of the asset recovery schemes in the POCA are to deny criminals the short and long-term use of their wrongfully acquired assets, recover all of said unlawfully acquired assets, and deter future criminality. 

The Act is also known to provide a number of investigative powers should it be necessary. These powers include search and seizure of assets, the ability to apply for production and disclosure orders, and the ability to freeze assets.

Our Work on Proceeds of Crime Act Cases Typically Entails

A forensic accountant can be vitally important in confiscation proceedings. We understand the POCA and are instructed on dozens of cases surrounding it each year. 

Our work typically entails: 

  • Meeting with the defendant 
  • Liaising with instructing solicitors and counsel 
  • Analysing financial data 
  • Inputting financial data 
  • Re-calculating the benefit amount 
  • Re-calculating the available amount 
  • Negotiating directly with the prosecutors’ financial investigators 
  • Preparing a report that complies with court procedure 
  • Attending court to give evidence as an expert witness.

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If you need specialist advice for a Proceeds of Crime Act case, contact our expert team today.

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The POCA Confiscation Order Process

The POCA confiscation order process is an involved one that has been in use for many years. While mistakes can happen, the core procedure remains unchanged. It generally involves steps such as consideration, order, amendment and enforcement. 

Details on the core process in England and Wales are as follows:

Why Rely on Inquesta for Proceeds of Crime Act Guidance

Inquesta has a team boasting decades of experience in providing specialist forensic accountancy services in a variety of different areas. 

We are perfectly equipped to defend confiscation proceedings and negotiate a manageable settlement on behalf of your clients. In addition, we have been called upon on multiple occasions to provide expert witness statements. 

As specialists in all aspects surrounding the Proceeds of Crime Act, we can provide a thorough, all-encompassing service that is tailor-made to suit you and your client’s individual circumstances. From an initial consultation right the way through to helping with court proceedings, we promise to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the perfect result.

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Our Specialist Team

Inquesta has assembled an expert team of forensic accountants that can assist with all forms of Proceeds of Crime Act cases.

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Rob Miller

Director of Forensic Accounting

A co-founder of Inquesta, Rob Miller is a chartered accountant, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and a Practising Member of The Academy of Experts.

With decades of experience in providing specialist forensic accounting services, Rob has been instructed to assist with numerous cases — such as financial investigations, criminal defence and confiscation proceedings, commercial and contractual disputes, valuation matters, and much more besides. He has acted on behalf of claimants, defendants, and as a single joint expert.

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Mark Holdsworth

Head of POCA

A former head of Criminal Defence, Mark has over 16 years of experience as a forensic accountant, but has lately worked exclusively on financial crime matters. He assists defence teams in relation to criminal investigations and related proceeds of crime and confiscation proceedings. Mark is recognised and accredited as an expert witness by the Academy of Experts.

FAQs

Under normal circumstances, a confiscation order will either need to be settled immediately, or within three months of the verdict being delivered. This is provided a defendant is able to successfully prove they do not have sufficient funds to cover their obligations right away.

Yes, it is possible for a confiscation order to be extended up to a maximum of six months. Once again, it will be up to the defendant to prove they are unable to pay the damages awarded within the initial three-month deadline.

If a defendant wishes to prove they are unable to pay a confiscation order and request a lighter penalty, they must provide evidence that their assets are not sufficient to cover their costs. An application should also be made to the Crown Court.

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How Does a Confiscation Order Work?

By |January 24th, 2022|

A confiscation order is designed to force those deemed to have financially benefited from crime to repay what they have gained.  Unlike other orders with similar end goals, like a forfeiture order, a confiscation order [...]