The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is in place to prevent money laundering. POCA gives authorities the power to confiscate any assets considered to have been gained illegally.
If you’re being investigated under the Proceeds of Crime Act, or have already had any of your assets frozen or confiscated, our POCA lawyers are here to help you. We’ll represent you throughout the investigation, no matter how far that process may go. We represent both individuals and companies accused of money laundering and we’ll work tirelessly to clear your name.
This kind of investigation can be hugely stressful. Not only are you fighting to prove your assets are legitimately yours, you’re fighting to prove your innocence. We understand the reputational damage these cases can cause. That’s why we work discretely and efficiently, using our extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system to clear your name.
We’re here to help after investigations too. Our solicitors can advise you on updating your company processes to defend against money laundering and comply with POCA. This will lower the risk of a POCA investigation in the future.
We'll also help you to develop these processes even if you’ve never been investigated. Having these processes in place from the beginning can ensure you're never investigated.
What Is The Proceeds Of Crime Act?
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has two aims:
- To prevent money laundering
- To confiscate any proceeds gained from criminal offences.
POCA makes it a criminal offence to use any property obtained through criminal activity. Property could include money, shares, or goods.
How Does The Proceeds Of Crime Act Work?
Authorities have wide-ranging powers to confiscate assets thought to have been gained illegally. The penalties for offences under the POCA vary depending on how much money is involved and how much evidence there is to show you may be been involved. As a maximum penalty, you could face up to 14 years in prison.
You may be issued a confiscation order, which requires you to pay a fixed sum. This sum is either how much you’re suspected to have made from alleged criminal conduct, or the amount payable. It’s normally whichever figure is lower. This could lead to financial difficulties depending on how much you’re ordered to pay. If you can’t pay, you may be given a prison sentence. Even if you’re sent to prison, you might still need to pay the confiscation order.
Restraint orders, which preserve your assets until a confiscation order is fully paid, can also be issued. This means you wouldn’t be able to access your assets if you needed to.
Reputational damage is a major side effect of an alleged offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Whether you’re accused as an individual or as part of a company, the impact a POCA investigation can have on your reputation can be devastating.
This is why it’s vital you contact us as soon as possible after coming under investigation. We’ll take all steps possible to minimise the impact the investigation has on your life and work to ensure your name is cleared.
Who Do We Help?
If you’re being investigated under the Proceeds of Crime Act, our POCA solicitors are here to help you.
We also advise companies, financial institutions and professional services firms who are under investigation.
How Do We Help?
Our expertise in POCA investigations means we’re able to help you in a wide range of situations:
- Helping you to secure the return of your cash or assets
- Advising and representing you in the event of search, seizure of assets, a restraint order, or freezing of assets
- Supporting you with applications to discharge or vary a restraint order
- Advising and representing you in confiscation proceedings, in which you’d need to pay an amount determined by the court
- Some matters may lead to years of complex litigation – we’ll advise and represent you in any litigation
- Conducting preventative checks on a company asset base
- Advising you on company processes for monitoring money laundering or POCA compliance.
Why Choose Us?
We’re highly experienced in dealing with Proceeds of Crime Act and financial crime cases. If you’re being investigated under POCA, we have the knowledge to help you.
Our experience includes routinely dealing with a broad range of law enforcement agencies. We regularly work with:
- The Police
- National Crime Agency
- Crown Prosecution Service
- Serious Fraud Office
- Financial Conduct Authority
- HM Revenue & Customs.
If you have assets in different countries, the authorities have the power to freeze these too. Our lawyers have handled many cases that involve cross-border issues, meaning we know how to advise you.
We’re also incredibly transparent with our clients. We make sure you’re aware of the likely outcome of your case. Whatever the likely outcome, we’ll advise you on how to manage the impact this could have on your life.
We’re a national law firm with offices all over the UK. Wherever you’re based, we’re able to help you.
We feature in Legal 500, which is the largest independent survey of the UK legal market. Their comments about our work in this field state: “Irwin Mitchell have worked on many of the major fraud, financial services, cartel and money laundering cases and done so to an exceptionally high standard. They have an astounding ability to work through large volumes of material and prepare working schedules which make their cases accessible. They are very hard working and their criminal trial preparation more closely resembles what one would expect from a highly funded civil case.”
If you’re under investigation and need strong legal representation, call us today on 0808 271 2602.
You can also contact us online and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.