The Court Proceedings of the Proceeds of Crime Act
In 2011, £1.1 million was found in Huddersfield after a police raid. The Police were able to carry out the raid as they had reasonable suspicion that the cash had been linked to crimes in the area. Four people were arrested and charged under the act.
When Police confiscate money on behalf of the POCA, the funds can either be invested back into the community, or into policing.
Since there is a financial incentive involved for the Police, they will push for a POCA conviction if they think that they can confiscate your money. This is why it is essential that if facing charges under the act, that you have a robust and secure legal defence in place.
In order to prosecute under the POCA, the police must prove that a defendant has a criminal lifestyle. To fulfil these criteria, the evidence must show that the defendant has benefited from criminal conduct financially and that the offences have taken place over a period longer than 6 months.
If these criteria are considered to be met by the prosecution, it is a assumed that all property and assets gained during this time frame are presumed to have been obtained from criminal activities. This can severely influence the size of assets seized by the CPS. If a criminal lifestyle is proven, a defendant can face great scrutiny of their finances.
Even if a criminal lifestyle is not proven, a confiscation order can still be made against a defendant. This is why it is essential that you consult an expert POCA solicitor if you are under investigation. Being charged under the POCA means that all of your assets and savings could be under threat even if they have been earned through legitimate means. POCA proceedings by the court can often be very draconian in their nature.
If a defendant fails to pay the amount agreed by the court, they may receive a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Even if a sentence is given the debt will still remain.
What should I do if I am facing charges under the POCA?
The criminal defence team at Qamar is highly experienced in POCA proceedings. If you are under investigation for any of these offences, or are subject to POCA proceedings, contact the criminal defence lawyers at Qamar Solicitors immediately for urgent specialist legal advice from our team of POCA Solicitors.