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Criminals are being made to pay for their crimes with more than £2.2 million confiscated from offenders last year in the Humberside area.
Confiscation referrals increased overall by 10 per cent for 2013-13 as compared to the previous financial year.
And confiscation orders have been successfully obtained to the tune of £2, 276,150.
Furthermore, payments from confiscation orders, which have been enforced by the courts, totalled more than £800,000.
Local victims of crime have also benefited from the successes of the Asset Recovery Investigation Unit, a total of £244,676.16 being awarded with £104,638.15 collected and paid out last year to those who have suffered at the hands of criminals.
In terms of cash seizures, £312,000 has been successfully forfeited by those living off crime.
Detective Superintendent Lauren Poultney welcomed the figures. She said: “Crime does not pay and those who think it does and who believe they can continue to live off ill gotten gains are mistaken. We will pursue criminals and use everything in our power to ensure that offenders pay back what they owe and importantly that whenever possible, victims are compensated for their misfortune.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they have information about people who they believe are living above their means as a result of criminal activity to contact the police and share that information.”
There have been a number of successful asset recovery cases across the whole of the Humberside Police area over the past financial year (April 2012 to March 2013). A summary of some of those, including some specific examples are outlined below:
North Bank (Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire)
• 37 Confiscation Orders (CO) totalling £2, 050, 549 have been made.
• 26 Cash Forfeiture Orders (CFO) totalling £125,663 have been made – this is cash seized from individuals therefore removing the cash from the criminal economy in Hull and East Riding.
• Paul and Cynthia WATSON of Beckside Close, Hull
£30, 000 cash was found hidden in bed frames at their home address.
CFO made on 23 May 2012 against them and other family members for £27,978.29. On 16 February 2011 officers executed search warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act at two home addresses of the family on Beckside Close in Hull.
Cash was seized from various parts of the houses, including behind bedside cabinets, under mattresses and being concealed in the bed frames, totalling £27,978.29. Neither of the defendants was employed. Paul and Cynthia Watson were convicted of money laundering offences. Paul was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and Cynthia to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months. The cash was forfeited as criminal property by the Magistrates Court and the couple are subject to further confiscation proceedings in August 2013.
The couple was unable to provide evidence to the Magistrates Court showing the cash had come from a legitimate source so the Magistrates ordered forfeiture of the whole amount.
• Joseph KELLY – Largest confiscation order ever obtained by Humberside Police.
On 10 August 2012 Humberside Police obtained their highest ever confiscation order at Hull Crown Court for £784,471.92 against Joseph KELLY.
On 07 January 2009 officers from C Division (East Riding) attended a property in Ottringham belonging to Deborah Kelly where they discovered a cannabis factory of 40 plants in a shipping container concealed under bales of hay and tarpaulin on the land adjacent to the house. The container was purchased by her brother, Joseph Kelly. Brother and sister were charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis and the first trial in August 2010 resulted in a hung jury. At the conclusion of the second trial both were found guilty and Joseph was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment and Deborah to 52 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year.
A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation investigation had commenced at the outset of the arrest and restraint orders were obtained preventing either defendant from dissipating their assets.
During the criminal case Joseph had portrayed himself as a successful property developer with business interests abroad who would not have needed to become involved in a small cannabis factory. Unfortunately for him he had only declared a small income for two of the preceding six years, working as a cleaner, to HMRC which caused him a problem with his confiscation proceedings. He told the court in the criminal trial he had substantial business interests in a logging company in Borneo but when it came to the confiscation he tried to tell the court he had lost his £220k investment in Borneo.
The Judge found in the Prosecution’s favour and declared Joseph’s benefit from criminal conduct as £784,471.92 and his available assets as £964,528.66, including his investment in Borneo.
Joseph was given six months to pay and a four year default sentence was set. Joseph is now awaiting an enforcement hearing at Sheffield Magistrates Court were he will have to account for his failure to sell assets.
• Anthony Booth – Ex Boxer paid off £33k confiscation order
On 11 October 2012 Tony Booth was ordered to pay a confiscation order of £32,934.36 following his involvement in a drugs and counterfeiting gang. Humberside Police caught the gang after launching an undercover operation known as Operation Beech into the supply of cocaine and ecstasy and the passing of counterfeit money centred in the Victoria Dock area of the city. The court decided Booth had benefited from his criminal activities in total by £162,137.34 but only had assets in his car and the equity in his house. Booth paid his order off in full within the six months allowed by the court.
• Philip GORDON – Sentenced to nine months in prison for failure to pay up.
On 03 November 2011 Philip GORDON was ordered to pay a £17,000 confiscation order by Hull Crown Court following his conviction for being concerned in offering to supply amphetamine for which he was sentenced on 19 January 2011 to 18 months imprisonment.
A month before he was sentenced Gordon transferred £10,000 from his bank account to a relative’s account and then withdrew in cash in what is believed to be an attempt to hide the asset. The court decided Gordon still had the cash and along with his other assets the confiscation order of £17k was made. Gordon has refused to pay anything over and failing to attend at the enforcement hearing because he was on holiday in Thailand. On 08 October 2012 Gordon was sent to prison to serve a nine month default term. The £17k remains outstanding.
Humberside Police Senior Financial Investigator Lorraine Baines said: “Philip Gordon’s financial position will be continually reviewed by staff from the Asset Recovery Investigation Unit and every opportunity will be taken to ensure the amount is eventually paid in full.
“The amount is increasing by £3.73 per day in interest. Any information from the public as to the whereabouts of Gordon’s assets can be reported via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
• Duncan BEEVER – Compensation being returned to the victim of crime.
Duncan Beever was the transport manager for a company called Kingspan Access Flooring Ltd based in Hull. He was convicted of theft from employer to a total of £32k and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
The Asset Recovery Investigation Unit identified he jointly owned two properties and a motor vehicle and sought a compensation order of £28,508 to repay the victim as much as could be identified and recovered from Beever. To date he has paid over £23k and is due to attend an enforcement hearing at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court to explain why he has not raised the full amount.
Lorraine Baines said: “Our priority is to ensure victims of crime receive as much compensation as possible from assets held by individuals who commit crime against them.”
South Bank (North & North East Lincolnshire)
• 21 Confiscation Orders (CO) totalling £225,602 have been made.
• 21 Cash Forfeiture Orders (CFO) totalling £186,401 have been made – this is cash seized from individuals removing the cash from the criminal economy of North and North East Lincolnshire.
• Mohammed UDDIN – Drug dealer pays off £31k confiscation order.
UDDIN, of Doncaster Road, Scunthorpe, was a target in Operation Delaware, an enquiry into an organised crime group based in Scunthorpe involved in the large scale distribution of class A drugs, heroin and crack cocaine. Over 20kg of heroin and 4kg of crack cocaine were recovered during the investigation by Humberside Police. In addition £70k in cash was also seized and forfeited by the courts from the group.
Uddin pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine and was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.
A confiscation investigation commenced into the financial affairs of Uddin by the Asset Recovery Investigation Unit culminating in the court stating he had to pay over £31,134.74, the value of his assets, in confiscation within six months.
The order has been paid in full.
• Laurine NNEDUM – £66k seized from Nigerian lady as she leaves Humberside Airport.
On 05 July 2010 officers from Humberside Police stopped Nnedum with her two 17-year-old daughters as they attempted to leave the country. Their luggage was examined and a large amount of cash recovered in various currencies, including US dollars, Euros and Nigerian Naira, wrapped in blue carbon paper.
Initially Nnedum denied having any cash but after it was discovered she stated it was for medical treatment in India although she did not have a visa to enter India.
Her account for where the cash had come from and what she was going to do with it varied throughout the course of the investigation.
Each account given by Nnedum was investigated and found to be untrue. Nnedum returned to Nigeria and was refused an application to return by the UKBA.
On 13 March 2013, at Hull Magistrates Court, before the District Judge, there was a hearing to determine if the cash was criminal property or to be used in crime.
Nnedum was represented by her solicitor but the District Judge found in favour of Humberside Police and a cash forfeiture order was made for £66,310.58.
Lorraine Baines said: “Individuals with large amounts of cash have to be able to account for where the money has come from. Mrs Nnedum was unable to maintain an account or provide any documentation to support her explanations so the cash was deemed to be criminal property.”
Chief Superintendent Rick Proctor, head of Hull Police, said: “There is nothing more disheartening for the law abiding public than to see those involved in organised criminality build a lifestyle supported by the misery they cause to society.
“As Divisional Commander for the city of Hull I am committed to doing everything we can to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups. They should understand there will be no hiding place for them and should expect the full weight of the law enforcement agencies to bear pressure upon them at every level.
“Stripping them of their ill gained assets will continue to be a priority for the Division whilst I remain commander. The message is clear – Crime in whatever shape or form will not pay.”
Divisional Commander for the East Riding of Yorkshire Judi Heaton said: “These are fantastic results, particularly the largest confiscation order being from the East Riding. Crime should not pay and the figures here show that it does not pay.
It is good to see those who make a living out of criminal activity getting their comeuppance.”
Officers of the Southbank Division of Humberside Police are fully committed to tackling criminal gangs and the individuals involved.
Together with the Economic Crime Section, Humberside Police’s South Bank Division, covering North and North East Lincolnshire, continue to enjoy success in not only bringing these organised criminals to justice, but also confiscating their criminal profits, cash and property, that they have accumulated through their criminal activities.
Detective Superintendant Bob Clark said: “Previously, these criminals would have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, only to be released with all of their ill gotten gains waiting for them, a situation where clearly crime did pay.
Nowadays, with the focus and commitment by the police in pursuing these people, their main concern is not how long they will go to prison, but how much of their criminal wealth they will be able to cling on to.”
“This continued success cannot be achieved without the help of the community. There will be people, with no known employment or other legitimate means of income, living well beyond their means in a luxury house, containing expensive furniture and electrical equipment, driving a top of the range vehicle and holidaying frequently.”
Humberside Police would encourage anyone with such concerns to contact either the force on 101 or Crimestoppers as any information could be vital in helping such investigations.”
101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.
Find out more information about 101 by following this link.
Source: Humberside Police
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