Our Client pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and money laundering offences. The allegation related to trading in copper wire and the Prosecution case was that there was a significant dealing in cash.
Following his guilty plea, our client faced confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the lifestyle assumptions were applied. This meant that any property that he owned at the time of conviction, and any monies passing through his bank accounts for a period of six years prior to him being charged were assumed to be the proceeds of crime. There was also an allegation of hidden assets due to transfers of money to Spanish bank accounts. The burden was on him to prove on a balance of probabilities that his assets were obtained by lawful means and that he did not have any hidden assets.
As he had a number of assets at the time of his conviction, the prosecution claimed that his benefit figure for particular criminal conduct and lifestyle was £770,000. With the allegation of hidden assets, this could have meant a confiscation order in the full sum of £770,000. Our client would not have had sufficient realisable assets to pay the order in this sum and would have faced additional time in prison in default. Considerable work was undertaken in order to show that the assets our client owned at the time of conviction were not from the proceeds of crime and that he did not have any hidden assets. In total we submitted four detailed statements to the prosecution setting out the position on our client’s behalf. Ultimately the matter was settled, and our client’s benefit figure was agreed to be £390,000 and the available amount of £390,000 was also agreed. The original allegation of hidden assets was resolved meaning our client will be able to settle the order without having to serve an additional prison sentence in default.