Proceeds of Crime Act
The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002 criminalises the use of property, such as money, shares and goods, which has been obtained through criminal conduct. Examples of criminal conduct include tax evasion, bribery and any benefits received as a direct result of a business failing to comply with UK law.
If it is suspected that discovered cash may be used for unlawful conduct or is the proceeds from criminal activity, it can be seized. However, you can get it back if you can prove, on the balance of probabilities, that it will not be used for criminal activity or it was not the proceeds of crime.
Usually, an application will be put forward during a prosecution for the confiscation of assets. However, even if authorities do not have enough evidence to prove criminal activity, but feel assets were acquired through criminal activity, then they can seek a Civil Recovery order.
If you have an order made against you, you will usually have six months in order to pay. However, you might be entitled to defend against it and out expert team can advise you of this.
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A Proceeds of Crime Application is a hearing at the Crown Court to decide whether someone who has pleaded guilty or been found guilty of a criminal offence should hand over any money to the Crown if they decide it was made due to criminal activity. It is extremely important that you have a solicitor with experience in this area of expertise so that they can guide you through the process and represent your best interests. The court can order that any assets can be taken from you in order to pay this money back, this can mean losing your house, car or other significant item of value.
In some instances it may be possible to appeal the Proceeds of Crime Act order, you should call us for further advice on this matter and an experienced solicitor will discuss any options with you.
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