The range of powers available to investigators under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) is extensive. While there is some overlap with powers available for other investigations, the fact that a case involves one of the issues with which POCA is concerned makes a significant difference to what investigators can do.
Proceeds of Crime
An increasing number of people are finding themselves on the receiving end of summary forfeiture proceedings in the magistrates’ court, a system that is designed to be simple and efficient from the point of view of law enforcement, but which carries significant risks for the owners of the property at stake.
For many people who receive or are served with a Crown Court Restraint Order, this will be the first time they have had anything to do with the criminal justice system. In some circumstances it will follow swiftly on from an arrest and/or the execution of a search warrant of their home or business premises, and may have been accompanied by the seizure of cash or property. In others it will simply come alone and without warning, complete with a penal notice to warn the recipient of dire consequences of any failure to comply.
On 28 February 2018, the National Crime Agency (NCA) publicised that it has obtained the first two Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) in relation to assets with a value totalling £22m, believed to be owned by an unnamed politically exposed person (PEP).
In the second of a two-part article, John Binns looks at the proposals on money laundering, civil recovery, and enforcement powers.