The Proceeds Of Crime Act (POCA) was introduced to UK law in a bid to recoup some of the profit made by criminals following their criminal activities. Although it is most commonly used in financial cases, such as fraud and money laundering, it may be used by the courts and authorities to freeze the assets and seize the cash of a criminal that they believe will attempt to hide the money or sell the assets. POCA cases can be extremely complex, and because of the nature of the freezing and seizure, it means that a failure to contest the charges can leave you and your family without the money you need in order to live on.
Initially, the courts or any of a number of police agencies and authorities may freeze the money in your bank accounts and your assets. This is done to prevent you from being able to see or transfer the property to another person, and the seizure will usually be in force until the end of the accompanying court case. This means that you may not be able to access the vast majority of your money, and the stipend that you are left with may not be enough for you to reasonably live on. It is possible for a lawyer to argue that this amount should be increased.
The courts also have the power to seize any money that they believe has been accrued as a result of criminal activities. The courts seize several millions of pounds every year in this way, and the outcome of the case is legally binding, which means that you can face prison if you are unable or unwilling to pay the money that has been demanded of you. Assets may need to be sold, and interest is usually charged on the total recoverable amount.
If you are due to appear in court and face having your cash or assets frozen or seized under POCA, then it is vital that you act quickly to help ensure that you receive fair treatment. Contact Ashcott Solicitors, who can help with any ongoing case, determine a fair stipend, and help ensure that only a reasonable sum is seized.
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