The CPS are advised to consider asset recovery in cases where they believe that someone has benefited financially from crime. This means that for many crimes particularly drug offences the Crown will instigate proceedings to work out what they believe the benefit was from their criminal conduct in monetary terms and then ask the Court to make an order for that amount to be repaid. The amount to be repaid will depend on the available amount or available assets that you have. There are a number of problems that arise in confiscation proceedings such as the value the Crown estimate the criminal conduct was, which can involve unrealistic drug values, numbers of crops the length of any criminal operation. An expert should always be instructed to see if this figure can be reduced as you will always owe the benefit figure regardless of what the available amount is. This can affect you financially forever. In relation to the amount ordered by the Court to be repaid, if that money is not paid generally within 3 months then you will be sent to prison for a default term and still owe the money. It is therefore vital that you instruct a firm with extensive knowledge of these types of proceedings, which we have.
It is usual for possession with intent to supply drug offences and some fraud offences to run hand in hand with money laundering offences and also as a result of a conviction for supplying drugs, confiscation proceedings will follow.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 creates three offences relating to money laundering. It is illegal to 1) conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove from the jurisdiction criminal property 2) facilitate the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property, and 3) acquire, use or possess criminal property. The definition of criminal property has a wide interpretation. If you are being investigated regarding a money laundering offence, you should consult a Solicitor at an early stage of the investigation, especially as some of your money, bank account and property could become subject to a restraint order, so that you cannot have access to those assets. This can be particularly stressful if for example the money seized is not part of any criminal activity. We represent clients regularly in money laundering offences and also proceeds of crime. We use specialist Barristers and can instruct financial experts if necessary, to ensure you have the best defence and more likelihood of having your assets returned.
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