Dealing with a POCA matter

Dealing with a POCA matter. The POCA team at Cohen Cramer Solicitors offers first-rate expertise representing people facing confiscation proceedings.  Lauren Bowkett, Head of POCA deals with the department’s most complex and high-profile cases in relation to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).  She is here to tell you everything you need to know about your POCA case.

What is a POCA matter

If you are convicted of a criminal offence, you might face confiscation proceedings.  The law in respect of POCA is very harsh and you may be faced with losing all of your assets.  At  Cohen Cramer, the POCA team can guide you through the proceedings and challenge the confiscation figures proposed by the Prosecution. 

The figures are made up of the “benefit” figure and the “available amount” figure and it is important that both of these figures are challenged, as they stay with you until they are paid in full.  The benefit figure is the amount the Prosecution says you have financially benefitted from your conviction and the available amount is the financial value of the assets you have available now to pay towards the Confiscation Order.  Even if you do not have enough assets available to pay the benefit figure in full now, you still owe this amount until it is paid in full. 

At the time the Confiscation Order is made you pay the available amount figure.  If you do not pay the available amount figure on the Confiscation Order you will serve extra time in prison.  It is extremely important to have a legal team who knows exactly how to challenge the figures and make sure they are as low as possible, so you can pay the order.  

How we can help

Since 2016 we have saved our clients over £50 million from confiscation.  The POCA team at Cohen Cramer has done this by challenging every single proposed confiscation order and revisited confiscation order.  What we mean by “revisited” is applications made by the Prosecution under Section 22 POCA 2002.  As previously mentioned, when a confiscation order is made against you, you may not be able to pay the order in full now.  You may pay the available amount, but still, have a large benefit figure left outstanding.  The Prosecution can look at the assets you have many years after your confiscation order was made and if you have assets available, the Prosecution can apply for those to also be taken from you.

We are regularly instructed by clients who had different solicitors dealing with their cases up to the point of conviction and we are regularly asked by clients and solicitors to take over cases at the point of the confiscation proceedings.  This is totally normal and if you are legally aided we can make an application to transfer your Legal Aid to us for the purposes of POCA.  We also represent clients privately.

Our ongoing commitment to you

We do not abandon a client once the Confiscation Order is made.  The service we offer includes helping our clients right up to the Order being paid in full.  Clients have 3 months to pay their confiscation orders.  This, on application, can be extended to 6 months.  We regularly make these applications successfully. 

Also, if there is a shortfall and your assets do not sell for the value in the available amount figure on your confiscation order we can make an application to reduce the available amount under Section 23 POCA 2002.  This stops you from spending extra time in prison.

Our expertise allows us to deal with overseas matters concerning the payment of your confiscation order.  If you have assets abroad we can help you and we regularly deal with property abroad. Our team are with you every step of the way and deal with the confiscation proceedings here or abroad.  We also work with foreign banks and institutions and prepare legal documents for the return of cash to the UK.  We also have experience dealing with foreign matters concerning hidden assets.

If the Prosecution says you have hidden assets, this means the Prosecution believes you have assets hidden somewhere which they are unable to identify.  The Prosecution may say this if they believe it is probable you may be hiding something.  The standard of proof for the Prosecution is very low and can have a detrimental effect on a client if they do not obtain expert advice on this area.  That is because if it is not disproved you have hidden assets you will still owe this amount now even if the hidden asset does not actually exist.  This means extra time in prison.  It is also very difficult to prove something does not exist on your own and therefore it is so important to have the right legal team to do this for you.  

The POCA team at Cohen Cramer has a vast amount of experience dealing with any POCA issue, including hidden assets.  We can advise and guide you through this complicated area of the law and get you the best result, stopping extra time in prison.  If you need assistance contact the POCA team at Cohen Cramer. 

Get in touch with us today for your initial consultation

We will deal with confiscation cases anywhere in England and Wales.

For the help and assistance you need to get in touch with us today:

  • Call: 0113 244 0597
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Lauren Bowkett – November 2021