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Protecting Third Parties

Member: Nifa

With hearts and flowers everywhere at the moment, one could be forgiven for thinking we are a nation of romantics but the romance can quickly wear off when someone is unwittingly caught up in crime and has their assets frozen or faces a bill from the courts through no fault of their own. At that moment, the best to person to call is a forensic accountant.

It is a little-known fact that life and business partners can be implicated if an individual is being investigated for a crime even if no criminal charges have been brought. This is through the Restraint provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) whereby applications for assets to be restrained can be made by the prosecution without notice to the individual. 

Moreover, third parties can also be adversely affected if civil recovery proceedings are brought, which is usually where the prosecution believes that an individual or company has assets that were acquired through criminal conduct but cannot prove it to criminal standard, beyond all reasonable doubt.
In civil cases, however, because the prosecution does not have to prove that the assets are the proceeds of crime to a jury, if the court is confident on the balance of probabilities that they are, then that is enough to get an order for confiscation. 

Therefore, in these instances, forensic investigators are vital, as they can analyse the available data and prove that the third party is blameless, thereby saving them a huge amount of time, expense and heartache that no amount of red roses can assuage. 

Author: Roger Isaacs, 13 February 2015

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