DPP Business Tax

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA)

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is an important piece of proceeds of crime legislation that was introduced by the British Government to tackle the threat of organised crime in the UK. Specifically, the act was written by Parliament’s Performance and Innovation Unit.

What Was The Aim of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002?

The initial aim of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2022 (or POCA 2002) was to take away the profitability of criminal activities and act as a deterrent to criminals thinking they may be able to enjoy financial gain from criminal proceedings and illegal activity.

What Happens If I’ve Been Accused of a Crime Under the POCA 2002?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, you could be facing one of two orders from the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Restraint Orders

If you’ve been charged with an offence or are suspected of certain POCA offences, the crown court will most likely impose a restraint order on you. Provisions included under a restraint order can include:

  • The freezing of assets that may be the proceeds of a crime.
  • The freezing of third-party assets that may be the proceeds of the crime.
  • Court order disclosures for the disclosure of UK assets, as well as assets abroad.
  • Appointment of Management Receivers to trace and recover assets.

Orders are made for the purpose of limiting the living expenses and business expenditures of the defendant.
Also known as a freezing order, these orders are the first stage of civil recovery. They cannot be issued by a magistrates court or the high court.

Confiscation Orders

If you’ve been found guilty of a crime, the prosecution will seek to place a confiscation order against you. This means that you’ll be given a predetermined amount of time to pay back what you owe. If you can’t pay back the amount in full, you’ll be sent to prison.

There are some set prison sentences which have been set by the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 2000 and the full extent of confiscation proceedings against you.

What is Classed as Assets Under the POCA 2002?

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 classes money or assets that have been gained, directly or indirectly, through the proceeds of a criminal act. This includes assets that a suspect purchased as a result of criminal activity – so a suspect cannot buy property or materials with stolen money and expect to have that not included in a confiscation order.

How Far Back Can Proceeds of Crime Go?

The court is empowered to assume that assets gained up to 6 years before proceedings were brought before the court have been gained as a result of criminal activity. The potential criminal activity itself may go back further than 6 years, however the court can only examine your accounts up to 6 years before the day of proceedings.

What Are Offences Under The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002?

According to the POCA 2002, a person is deemed to have committed an offence if they:

  • conceals criminal property
  • disguises criminal property
  • converts criminal property
  • transfers criminal property
  • removes criminal property from England and Wales or from Scotland or from Northern Ireland

The act itself does provide possibilities where a person is viewed to have not committed an offence. These include making a disclosure under section 338 of the act or if the suspect was acting in order to enforce the act – for example if they were acting on behalf of law enforcement or HMRC.

What should I do if I’m facing a restraint or confiscation order?

If you’re facing a restraint or confiscation order, or you’ve been accused of a crime which may result in proceeds of crime hearing, it’s vital to seek legal advice from a professional.

Can A Home Be Confiscated?

Yes. If your home has been gained through the proceeds of a crime – either directly or indirectly – it can be confiscated by the government.

Can You Go To Jail For a Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Offence?

Yes. The maximum custodial sentence is a period of no more than 14 years. However, the actual term of your sentence will depend on the amount of money owed and the suspect’s culpability.

How Can DBT Help?

If you’ve been accused of criminal conduct and breaking money laundering regulations, and you’re facing the possibility of having to justify all earnings made since the conviction, chances are you’ll be feeling distressed and anxious.

DBT & Partners have decades of experience in handling cases involving serious fraud, where POCA legislation is involved. Our dedicated team of POCA specialist solicitors work around the clock to ensure we get our clients the best possible outcome and are on hand to offer professional, honest legal advice when needed.

Our POCA specialist solicitors can provide expert advice, assist with asset recovery, and help you through your next steps. Contact us today for a confidential discussion.

Contact Us

24 hours a day,

7 days a week

365 days a year.

+44 207 416 6745

Leave us your details and we will get back to you.