Specialist fraud and financial crime investigators honoured at Keith Hughes Awards

Representatives from the Surrey Police Economic Crime Unit and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit Cyber and Digital Task Force receive their award

Representatives from the Surrey Police Economic Crime Unit and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit Cyber and Digital Task Force receive their award

The UK’s leading experts in fraud, financial investigation and law enforcement recently convened in Manchester for the SOCEX Fraud and Financial Crime Conference. The event also played host to the thirteenth annual Keith Hughes Awards.

Sponsored and founded by Altia-ABM, the SOCEX Fraud and Financial Crime Conference hosts senior investigators from police forces and enforcement agencies across the UK and internationally. Altia-ABM founded the event with Think Different Events in 2015 and has continued as its headline sponsor every year. The latest event was attended by 400 delegates, which represents a significant increase from 180 delegates two years ago.

The Keith Hughes Awards, which are also sponsored by Altia-ABM, recognise the achievements of individuals and teams who have made outstanding contributions to investigating and prosecuting fraud. The awards were established in memory of Detective Constable Keith Hughes, an outstanding financial investigator with the former National Crime Squad, who passed away in July 2003.

Ian Watson, CEO of Altia-ABM, informed Risk Xtra: “We’re delighted to continue to sponsor these awards and I congratulate the winners on their achievements. The work of financial investigators makes a huge difference in our communities. There’s a particular satisfaction in not only putting criminals behind bars, but also recovering their assets and returning them to the public purse. The day-to-day work of financial investigators isn’t often celebrated, so we wanted to do something to address this situation. Society benefits enormously from the professionalism, tenacity and acumen of these investigators.”

2018 Keith Hughes Awards: The Winners

Members of the London Regional Asset Recovery Team and the Metropolitan Police Service Anti-Money Laundering Task Force

Members of the London Regional Asset Recovery Team and the Metropolitan Police Service Anti-Money Laundering Task Force

Individual Award Winner

Detective Constable Derek Tinsley of the West Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team won the individual award for leading an operation which resulted in the conviction of an individual for VAT fraud. The original investigation was a murder investigation, but it was decided that the case could not be made to enable a successful prosecution. By adopting a completely comprehensive approach and pursuing every avenue of inquiry, DC Tinsley ensured that the individual involved was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Individual Award Runner-Up

Iqbal Azad, a Detective Sergeant with the Metropolitan Police Service’s Cyber Crime Unit, was recognised for his tireless work to track cryptocurrency trading on The Dark Web which was found to be linked to a large-scale fraud. The investigation led by DS Azad resulted in the successful conviction of a major perpetrator of this type of fraud.

Team Award Winner

Left to Right: Tina Hughes, Iqbal Azad, Mick Creedon QPM and Nick Downing at the Keith Hughes Awards

Left to Right: Tina Hughes, Iqbal Azad, Mick Creedon QPM and Nick Downing at the Keith Hughes Awards

Surrey Police’s Economic Crime Unit and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit’s Cyber and Digital Task Force won this award for Operation Florida. The team won for its approach to investigating and prosecuting a cryptocurrency case. After recovering a bitcoin electronic key at an individual’s home address as part of a separate kidnapping investigation, the team worked over several months to trace the bitcoins stored on the key, which were worth over £1 million. The team proved that the money had been obtained through crime, and also proved to the presiding Judge that cryptocurrency could and should be converted to pounds sterling and confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This was the first time that cryptocurrency had been confiscated and also the first time that a Judge in the UK had been asked to rule on the confiscation of assets stored in a digital currency.

Team Award Runner-Up

London Regional Asset Recovery Team and the Metropolitan Police Service’s Anti-Money Laundering Task Force were nominated based on their work on tracking the assets of an organised crime gang in London. The head of the family was sentenced to seven years in prison following an extensive investigation.

A special commendation from the National Police Chiefs’ Council was presented to Shane Roberts of Bedfordshire Police for his work on raising the profile of financial investigations.

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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