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Lavish lifestyle clue to crime

Member: Nifa

A bungling businessman who was caught with drugs to the value of £77,500 has been handed a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) for £4.5 million because of his lavish spending. Peter Carroll was arrested in 2013 and caught with cannabis plants with a street value of around £77,500. However, following a criminal investigation that led to a considerable jail term, a forensic investigator determined that his assets totalled at least £4 million.

The investigator discovered that he was a company official of several dissolved companies and had amassed assets including a “substantial” portfolio of 16 properties in Leicestershire, Fuengirola, Spain and Kissimmee, Florida, among other assets. He had also bought an Aston Martin Volante Convertible, a Bentley Arnage and a £400,000 yacht.

The investigation, which took several years, established that the man had been living a lifestyle way beyond his means since at least January 2007 and he now faces a nine-year custodial sentence if he does not pay the confiscation order immediately. Moreover, although the investigation uncovered a Rolex watch, some properties and vehicles, the investigator believed that the majority of the assets are still hidden.

In a forensic investigation, the forensic accountants look at lifestyle, as it is often key to hidden ‘income’. Once the investigation gets going, one thread leads to another and a picture starts to build up of what the level of expenditure may have been.

Roger Isaacs, Partner at Milsted Langdon said: “Confiscation proceedings are unusual because the burden of proof is on defendants to prove that they acquired assets with legitimate income.  If they cannot do so, the court is entitled to presume that they were acquired illegitimately”.

“If you feel a forensic investigation could be beneficial to you it is important that you seek specialist advice. Contact us today and see how we can help.”

Author: Roger Isaacs 21 December 2018

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