More than £12 million worth of proceeds of crime has been recovered in the past year, the Solicitor General Lesley Thomson, QC, announced today.
The specialist prosecutors of the Crown’s Serious and Organised Crime Division secured confiscation orders worth over £8 million against convicted drug dealers, benefit fraudsters, and a variety of others including more than £4.3 million alone from those involved in the “black fish” cases.
In addition, the Civil Recovery Unit recovered over £4 million during the same period. The Civil Recovery Unit will issue its Annual Report giving further information about its activities during 2012/13 on Monday 29 April. A preview of the figures and case studies can be found in the Notes to Editors below.
The amount recovered by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Civil Recovery Unit in the last 12 months brings the total secured since the commencement of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) in 2003 to more than £80 million.
A large proportion of the money has now been put to the Scottish Consolidated Fund to be reinvested in Scottish communities via the CashBack for Communities programme.
Announcing this year’s POCA figures, the Solicitor General said:
“This year we have taken more than £8 million from convicted criminals, and a further £4 million thanks to the work of our Civil Recovery Unit. This takes the total recovered for the past 10 years to more than £80 million.
“By full use of the proceeds of crime legislation, law enforcement can strike at the very heart of criminality in Scotland to ensure that criminal networks big and small are disrupted and dismantled.
“My message is clear - if you try to make a profit from crime, the Crown will use this legislation to the maximium to take that profit from you and ensure it is put it to a much better use in communities across Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Cashback Scheme.”
Lindsey Miller, Head of the Serious and Organised Crime Division (SOCD) and the COPFS POCA Champion, said:
“Over the past ten years, the Proceeds of Crime Act has been proven time and again to be an extremely powerful and flexible tool in the hands of prosecutors.
“We have taken more than £80 million from criminals, which otherwise could have been reinvested in their criminal enterprises.
“However, we have not become complacent in our success. Crime evolves and we must evolve with it. In the last year alone, we have seen successful confiscation orders against people who have participated in all types of crime, including drug dealing, selling counterfeit goods, embezzlement, human trafficking and benefit fraud.
"We will continue to use our experience and expertise to maximise disruption to criminal enterprises"
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
“Prosecutors and police are cracking down on organised crime and criminals have nowhere to hide. More than £12 million has been confiscated from criminals last year, hitting them where it hurts – their wallets.
“Our communities are benefiting from the hard work of prosecutors and police putting ill-gotten gains to good use through our CashBack for Communities Programme, which invests crooks’ cash in facilities and activities for our young people and their communities across the length and breadth of the country.
“Since CashBack for Communities began in 2007, over £50 million recovered from the proceeds of crime has been invested or committed throughout Scotland, directly benefitting over 600,000 young people and generating over 11,000 volunteers who are now putting something back into their communities.”
Notes to editors:
- The total amount secured through the Proceeds of Crime Act in the 12 month period from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013 is £12 million, which is made up of £8 million from criminals convicted of relevant offences and £4 million from cash forfeitures and asset recovery orders granted by the civil courts. Further details are provided in the tables below.
- The total secured since commencement of the Act in March 2003 and 31 March 2013 is more than £80 million which includes more than £50 million from Serious and Organised Crime Division and £30 million from the Civil Recovery Unit.
- The Serious and Organised Crime Division deals with the confiscation of proceeds of crime following conviction and secures money from convicted criminals, eg those who have been convicted of drug dealing, money laundering, or fraud.
b. The Civil Recovery Unit investigates and recovers the proceeds of crime through the civil courts without the need for criminal conviction.
- The Serious and Organised Crime Division works together with colleagues at the Civil Recovery Unit, and other law enforcement agencies, such as UK Police Forces, HM Revenue and Customs and Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to identify and recover the proceeds of crime.
- Proceeds of Crime legislation is also used by the Civil Recovery Unit acting on behalf of Scottish Ministers. The Civil Recovery Unit investigates and recovers, through the civil courts, property obtained through criminal activity. The Annual Report of the Civil Recovery Unit will be published on Monday 29 April.
- The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is a committed member of the Scottish Government’s Serious Organised Crime Task Force. The Task Force has a remit to pursue serious organised crime in all its forms by bringing together all agencies involved in tackling organised crime groups. Task Force members include the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, the Lord Advocate, representatives from COPFS, the Scottish Government, HMRC, SOCA and SPS. Details of the work of the Taskforce can be accessed here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Justice/crimes/organised-crime.
- Breakdown of Figures
Serious and Organised Crime Division – Total amount of confiscation orders
Note: The years are financial years (1 April to 31 March)
Breakdown of Figures – Civil Recovery Unit
Asset Recovery Cash Forfeitures Total
2003-2004 £23,986 £672,824 £696,810
2004-2005 £203,408 £797,839 £1,001,247
2005-2006 £761,602 £604,200 £1,365,802
2006-2007 £496,215 £1,200,427 £1,696,642
2007-2008 £1,365,267 £1,352,351 £2,717,618
2008-2009 £789,968 £2,037,728 £2,827,696
2009-2010 £965,652 £2,260,913 £3,226,565
2010-2011 £7,438,450 £1,879,830 £9,318,280
2011-2012 £1,310,069 £2,241,079 £3,551,148
2012-2013 £2,348,638 £1,774,518 £4,123,156
Totals £15,703,255 £14,821,709 £30,524,964
Note: The years are financial years (1 April to 31 March)
CashBack for Communities
CashBack for Communities is a unique Scottish initiative that takes money recovered through proceeds of crime legislation and invests that in community activities and facilities for young people at risk of turning to crime as a way of life.
CashBack delivers a wide range of projects through Scotland’s leading sporting, arts, business, community and youth associations which range from diversionary sporting activity to more long-term potentially life-changing intervention projects which turn young people’s lives around and provide them the opportunity of getting into employment, education, or volunteering.
Since its inception in 2007, over £50 million recovered from the proceeds of crime has been invested or committed throughout Scotland, directly benefitting over 600,000 young people and generating over 11,000 volunteers who are now putting something back into their communities.
More information can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk/cashback