Fraudsters end 2019 with lighter pockets thanks to NCA’s asset denial teams

In December, the National Crime Agency (NCA) managed to claw back millions of dollars from a fraud involving no less than 700 victims. The agency’s illicit finances investigators also retrieved hundreds of thousands of pounds in two other cases where the money is believed to have been linked to criminality. It was a busy Christmas period with the trio of results coming in quick succession.

Last April, the NCA’s Criminal Asset Denial team began helping authorities in the United States to trace money in the UK linked to an American $72 million fraud involving around 700 victims. As US investigators announced charges in Florida over the fraud, the Criminal Asset Denial team secured a linked UK account freezing order on $2 million dollars which stops the money being moved.

On 16 December after close collaboration with US authorities, the US Attorney’s Office, the Crown Prosecution Service and the UK Central Authorities, a restraint order was obtained enabling the money to be sent back to the fraud victims.

On 17 December, Leeds Crown Court granted an increase of more than £105,000 on a confiscation order originally made for just over £166,000 in July 2017. The order was against a man jailed in 2017 for eight-and-a-half years for conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

Following the initial confiscation order, the NCA’s Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) team identified a property management company holding further funds for the defendant. The additional money (rental income) had to be paid within three months or the subject of the order faced a further 30 months in prison. The money was paid back in full on the same day. The ACE team also confiscated just over £227,000 on 16 December.

The money came from the proceeds of a sold property belonging to a man previously convicted over mortgage fraud and a drugs trafficking conspiracy. He was the subject of a previous confiscation order in April last year for just over £452,000. The sale of his property took place to avoid any further profit being made on rent.

National Economic Crime Centre director Sarah Pritchard said: “December was a busy month for the asset denial teams. This type of proactive work to deny fraudsters and criminals of their wealth has a real impact. Doing time is a work-related hazard for many of these people, but losing their money and property often isn’t. We are determined to target criminal wealth and take it away where we can.”

NCA Asset Denial team senior manager Jonathan Rainer observed: “We will continue to target criminal finances and explore every opportunity to disrupt serious organised crime, confiscate criminals assets and recover money belonging to victims. If, at the time a confiscation order was made, there was a disparity between benefit and realisable assets, we keep the case under constant review. If assets are identified in the future, we will then seek to recover them and ensure criminals don’t profit from their crimes.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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