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Proceeds of Crime Act Nets Millions – 7th December 2012

Member: Nifa

Thanks to the diligence of investigative accountants, West Yorkshire Police were able to reveal yesterday (November 6th 2012) that they have increased the amount of cash taken though the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) every year since 2007 and last year doubled the amount taken from convicted criminals from £5.6m in 2010/11 to £12.3m in the last tax year.

The force also revealed that the two Bradford police divisions, Bradford South and Airedale and North Bradford, recovered a combined total of £1,831,876 between April 2011 and April this year.

While in Cumbria, more than £13.5m has been recovered from criminals over the past nine years, with more than 500 of them having their assets seized.

However, earlier this year, the Court of Appeal slashed the largest confiscation orders ever made in England & Wales.  The Crown Court had made orders of over £92 million each against Shakeel Ahmad and Syed Ahmed but the Appeal Court cut each order to just over £16 million.

Often these huge crimes make the headlines but what the public does not realise is that the investigative aspect, which goes on behind the scenes, is a very important and painstaking job.

The work of the forensic accountants will involve the assessment of accounting systems and accounts presentation in cases where a business owner has been convicted of fraud.

In the case of employee fraud, an accountant might employ forensic analytics, which is the procurement and analysis of electronic data to reconstruct, detect, or otherwise support a claim of financial fraud.

Once a criminal is convicted, the investigation is continued, with both offender and prosecutor trying to prove whether assets come from legitimate or criminal sources through analysis of accounts, bank statements and following legal paperwork, such as house purchase records.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 7th December 2012

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