back to listing

Obvious Assets That Can’t Be Found – 26 November 2013

Member: Nifa

A judge has slammed prosecutors who have been unable to find luxury cars, including a Ferrari Spider and Bentley Continental, despite the fact that, as he said, they are “probably being driven around Mayfair”.  Speaking in the confiscation case of a jailed drugs baron in London yesterday (November 21), Nicholas Evans asked the prosecutors to apply “common sense” in their search for the vehicles and said that it was no surprise that investigators had been unable to find other assets, as the whole point of trying to hide them is that “you don’t leave a trace”.

However, the best route for the prosecutors to take is to engage a team of forensic accountants with a track record of finding assets however well-hidden they are.  When the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) was brought in, it was with the intention of recovering the proceeds of crime and to disempower crime bosses by undermining their ability to fund further criminal ventures.

As the architects of the Act said in 2002, prosecutors use methods similar to forensic accounting to “follow the money trail” and then seize assets that enable criminals to continue their “work”.  Rather like pathology, the evidence acts as a silent witness against the criminal and is used to build up a picture of their lifestyle and activity without needing to use actual witnesses, who are often intimidated into not giving evidence in court.

Using a suite of specialist accounting software systems and no small amount of common sense, the forensic accountant can track payments and analyse financial evidence in order to build up a true picture of what has gone on, either proving that assets are the proceeds of criminal activity or, sometimes, that they are not.

Author: Roger Isaacs – 26 November 2013

Share on Twitter