John Veale of Kangs Solicitors provides some guidance on the commonly encountered situation of a criminal prosecution involving more than one member of the same family.
Money Laundering Offences | Money Laundering Solicitors | Tax Solicitors
Frequently, members of the same family will be arrested in regard to a criminal investigation.
This can especially be the case in fraud and tax cases, when money from the alleged fraud has been laundered via the family by the purchase of the family home and other assets.
It is not unusual to find husband and wife as co-defendants with all the difficulties that this can bring.
It may often be the case that the family member has no actual knowledge of the fraud or offence, but find themself drawn in.
They may have thought that their partner just ran an extremely successful business and was able to provide a lovely home together with new cars and holidays abroad.
The Investigation | Interview Under Caution | Fraud Solicitors
The difficulty with money laundering offences is that ‘knowledge’ or ‘suspicion’ that any monies are from the proceeds of crime is sufficient to formulate the offence.
This makes life very difficult during an interview under caution as it is all too easy for the interviewing officer to suggest to the suspect that they were at least ‘suspicious’ as to how a luxury lifestyle was being paid for.
This leaves the client with difficult options to exercise such as:
- Do I cooperate with the investigation and answer all the questions?
- Is it better if I have a written statement prepared on my behalf rather than trying to answer all the questions verbally?
- Can I refuse to answer any of the questions and conduct a ‘no comment interview’?
How Kangs Solicitors can help?| Fraud Investigation Solicitors
Often the most important stage of a case, especially one involving family members, is the investigation and interview stage.
It is therefore vital to get the right advice at the police station.
Many clients are lulled into the false sense of security that as they have not done anything wrong, they do not need a solicitor and are happy to help the authorities with their investigation.
At Kangs Solicitors we have a number of solicitors with many years of experience of representing clients during the interview and investigation stages in regard to complex and serious cases involving the family.
The Pressure of Charge | Kangs Solicitors
Our experience is that often the Crown Prosecution Service (which makes the ultimate decision regarding charge) recommends charging those suspects on the periphery of a fraud or money laundering case as well as those deemed to be the main culprits.
This is often perceived as a tactic to apply pressure on those at the centre of the investigation to admit their guilt and enter a guilty plea.
The premise is that any partner/husband/wife would not want to see their loved one in the dock with them, when that loved one has done little or nothing wrong.
It’s NOT the United States | SFO Solicitors
Unfortunately this is not the United States where as seen on the television it is possible to plea bargain with those prosecuting.
There is no such scheme in England & Wales other than Deferred Prosecution Agreements between the Serious Fraud Office and a Corporate Body.
However all may not be lost.
It may be possible for there to be discussions between the Prosecution and Defence whereby a guilty plea is entered by those who are seen to be more complicit in the case in return for the partner/husband/wife not being proceeded against.
For such negotiations to take place it is essential to have experienced solicitors and barristers instructed to pursue the desired outcome and that any guilty plea is only entered on the best possible basis.
At Kangs Solicitors we have extensive experience in such matters. We have had conduct of many cases where it has been possible to negotiate a favourable guilty plea for certain family members in exchange for other family members being ‘dropped out’ of the prosecution.
Variations on a Theme | Recent Case | Fraud Lawyers
Kangs Solicitors has recently represented a client, who was not initially charged, in a conspiracy to defraud by false representation.
Our client’s brother was, however, charged in the fraud along with nineteen others.
Our client expressed a wish to talk to the police about his own involvement in the fraud. His intention was to demonstrate that he had involved his brother into the fraudulent scheme and that his brother was unaware of any criminality.
A situation of this nature required very careful handling. In an attempt to extricate one brother from the case we did not want to end up in a situation with both brothers being charged and prosecuted for the same offences.
We consulted with the client and considered the matters that would need careful tactical consideration for our client to achieve his desired result.
At the initial interview under caution, we prepared a written statement on our client’s behalf so that he would not need to answer each and every question put to him.
During the court proceedings, we were able to ensure that our client only entered a guilty plea on a defined basis as had been outlined in the prepared statement in his initial interview under caution.
In the light of the above, the case against our client’s brother was discontinued by the prosecution.
Experienced solicitor and Counsel were required to negotiate with the Prosecution without which the desired outcome would have been very hard to achieve.
Contact Us | Tax Solicitors | Fraud Solicitors
If you would like an experienced and respected team of solicitors to handle your fraud, tax or money laundering case then we will be happy to assist you.