Proceeds of crime cases, in which it is determined how much money someone must pay back for a crime, may confuse many people because it is not always immediately obvious how the value of the amount to be repaid is decided upon.
Take two stories from late November as prime examples. The first concerned three members of a gang that had committed more than 100 burglaries across several counties, stealing almost £1 million worth of cars and other goods in the process. After a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court the trio were ordered to pay back just £1 each.
Meanwhile, up in the Scottish town of Dumfries, restaurant owner Syed Naqv was ordered to pay back £350,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act because of his “criminal lifestyle” that included hiring illegal immigrants as waiters and being unable to provide a legitimate source for the huge amount of cash found in his home.
Reading these two stories, which were reported just 48 hours apart, it is easy to understand why so many people find proceeds of crime confusing. Frenkels Forensics, which is regularly called upon to provide its forensic accounting expertise in such cases, can shed some light on the matter.
The experts at Frenkels Forensics have extensive experience of working on cases involving proceeds of crime and criminal defence. They typically work with the defendants to assess the claims brought against them by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Proceeds of crime cases involve establishing exactly what crime was committed and how much an individual or group gained financially from it. But that’s not all; the cases must also assess how much the defendants can realistically afford to pay back before arriving at a figure.
In the cases of the trio of serial burglars, specialist financial investigators failed to identify any assets or cash belonging to three men. Meanwhile in the case of Mr Naqv, cash was found in his home that could not be explained – with no legitimate source for this money, he was ordered to hand it all over.
This may be a simplistic overview but it offers a useful illustration of what works goes into a proceeds of crime case by forensic accountants and it also explains why the figures that criminals are ordered to repay often fluctuate wildly regardless of how much they have originally stolen.
For expert help in a criminal case involving proceeds of crime or any other type of financial dispute contact Frenkels Forensics for an independent appraisal.
We can help assist individuals, companies, lawyers, barristers and accountants in conducting a full investigation into accounts to ensure a fair settlement for the prosecution or defendant.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for advice on any aspect of forensic accountancy, then do get in touch via Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or by visiting our website www.frenkels.com
By Vitek Frenkel – find me via Google+.