Confiscation orders divide community opinion

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Nick Huber
Freelance journalist
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When people have been convicted of the same fraud how should a confiscation of their fraudulently obtained money be divided, asks Nick Huber. Should it be divided equally or by more than the whole of the benefit they obtained jointly? 

These are some of the questions arising from a recent Court of Appeal decision (Fields & Others v R [2013] EWCA Crim 2042), which has been analysed by forensic accounting expert David Winch.

Some accountants have claimed that confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) against "ordinary businesses" have sometimes been draconian.

Fields, Sanghani and Sagoo had been engaged in a fraud...

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03rd Jan 2014 12:45

Confiscation Orders...

Where fraudsters set out to defraud, they should have no defence against the amount of the confiscation order.  If they don't like it, don't carry out the fraud!  

Yes, there is the fine/sentence, but there is no additional legal financial recompense for those who have suffered pain, stress, financial hardship, and illness because of the actions of the fraudsters.  Whereas, fraudsters are totally lacking in empathy for their victims, and typically seek out their next targets.

In my situation, where I am acting on behalf of a fraud victim, because the Bristol & Avon Constabulary will not go to the (small) effort of obtaining the necessary evidence from the involved parties (all they need are the accounting records and bank statements), despite having the prima facie fraud case referred to them by ActionFraud, we must take out a civil action, which the fraudsters can afford to defend vigorously using the proceeds of their crime. So, even more unnecessary expense for the victims.  

Our experience with this couple is they will spin out the legal action through lies and obfuscation, running up huge bills, which will become higher than the possible return, and someone will have to give in ...and it won't be them because they cannot afford to be seen to lose!  The Police have told me they will take action only when we have been successful ...why do we have to do their job for them!  

I know the Director of the company spends a lot of time trawling through AccountingWeb looking for anything which she believes involves her and her husband, and doesn't appreciate the exposure.  She and her husband are not named by me, but she obviously recognises herself.  

To clear her and her husband's good name, all she needs to do is produce the accounting records, which she is refusing to do, and bank statements for 'belt and braces', and if they are as clean as she claims, the problem goes away and we apologise.

She views this as harassment, even though they are not named, so perhaps the lady doth protest too much, methinks!!

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06th Jan 2014 21:50

A lot get off too lightly

They should repay all the money they obtained from the fraud, plus interest, and not just the 'available amount'.

If they spend it all (or hide it in a relatives name), what happens then? Would there be no confiscation?

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