The North East ACE (Asset Confiscation Enforcement) Team achieve three more significant disruptions against criminals in the Yorkshire and Humber region trying to hide their assets from authorities.
A defendant from Humberside had originally paid his confiscation order of £1,500 in full but he had also benefited £49,770 more from his crime than he had paid back. The ACE Team identified that the defendant had since inherited a farm with a value of £360,000. A restraint order was served and a Section 22 uplift was granted in full amount on the 18th February 2016. The defendant has three months to pay over his remaining debt.
A defendant from West Yorkshire had not engaged with authorities previously and some property was held in name of a business (not previously known to be linked to the defendant) that had gone into liquidation. There had been many offers on the property so the ACE Team engaged with the liquidators and the two potential purchasers to arrange a sale price £60,000 more than was originally expected which was recovered from the criminal.
A defendant from Humberside was deemed to be the holder of the legal title of two properties. He had attempted to distance himself from these properties prior to confiscation by transferring the title into the name of his brother and sister.
The properties remained unsold and therefore the order remained unpaid. The defendant was brought before the enforcement courts but refused to engage in the enforcement process. Under the new Serious Crime Act 2015 it was now feasible to make an application for a Compliance Order, ensuring the properties are sold in order to pay the order. However, the order was made prior to the enactment of the Serious Crime Act and, therefore, the only alternative would be to appoint an enforcement receiver to realise the property.
The appointment of an Enforcement Receiver is a complex, lengthy and ultimately expensive process, the cost of which is directly deducted from any monies recovered.
In order to maximise the amount recoverable, officers from the ACE Team explored other avenues of recovery, before considering an application to appoint a receiver. Contact was made with the third parties to whom the properties had been transferred. A meeting was arranged and the circumstances fully explained, including the inevitable option of an enforcement receiver if matters could not be resolved by any other means.
An agreement was reached with the third party to market and sell the property and the proceeds of sale to be paid over to the confiscation order. Liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service and conveyancing solicitors enabled the matter to be dealt with using the consent of the third party. The property was sold and the full amount of the equity (£40,000) that was attributed to the property at confiscation was recovered without the necessity of legal proceedings or the appointed of an enforcement receiver.