Police and customs officers can routinely seize large amounts of cash from ordinary citizens who are law-abiding and then applying to the court for its further detention. They can then even apply for its eventual forfeiture. What most people don’t know is that this legislation gives authorities the entitlement to initiate this process based on them possessing even the slightest of suspicions.
An example of this is that recently, our fraud lawyers successfully recovered £58,000 for a mobile phone trader, whose cash was seized for nearly two years. Despite the proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) demanding the deposit of such seized cash in an interest-bearing account within 48 hours of seizure, the metropolitan police officers involved in this case exhibited the money and detained it within a police property store, causing a loss of interest revenue for our client.
The problem with having a cash seizure is that it can have a catastrophic effect on businesses, individuals and their families. A cash seizure can disrupt your business and make it impossible to operate it, and it could impact you having reasonable living expenses. It can be a stressful time that is so inconvenient to how you live your life and run your business.
If you’ve had the experience of cash seizure, it’s likely to make you feel anxious and give you sleepless nights. It’s a time when you are likely to feel challenged and stressed out. However, working with a competent and determined solicitor with experience in the fraud arena can give you relief from worry and anguish in addition to financial relief.
Understanding the terms and implications of a cash seizure is essential. You’ll need to know who has your money and what the process is for getting it returned to you.
When the case goes to the magistrate’s court, it is classified as civil proceedings. Those who are trying to seize the cash will need to prove their case on a balance of probabilities that it is either proceeds from a crime or likely to be used in one.
The police should put it into an interest-bearing account so that you don’t lose any interest revenue from it. It’s vital that you take guidance and advice from an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.
Being under investigation can be a very stressful time. The effect all of this can have on you, and your well-being makes it all the more imperative that you select a solicitor that has the expertise and experience to help.
Have you been subjected to a Cash Seizure?
If you or somebody close to you has had a cash seizure notice, it’s probable that you are under investigation for or accused of tax evasion, money laundering, fraud or drug offences. Now is the time you must seek specialist legal assistance to protect the interests of you and your family.
It is completely understandable if you’re feeling very stressed, confused, worried and concerned about what’s going to happen.
When can prosecutors seek Cash Seizure?
Prosecutors can apply to a crown court to serve a cash seizure notice on assets if they can prove that the following circumstances apply:
The cash you have received is the proceeds of a crime
The cash you have received will be used in an illegal manner
Despite it being relatively easy to obtain a cash seizure, it may still be possible to achieve a positive outcome by challenging it.
It’s important to note that once the police have seized it, they can hold it for up to 48 hours. After that, the police can apply to a magistrate’s court to keep it for up to another 90 days while they do further investigations. They can then request an extension of another three months if the investigation hasn’t been completed — the maximum time for the case to be concluded after initial cash detention is two years.
If the police have the right evidence, they can even apply to keep the cash permanently. When they seize it from you, they will be using mass spectrometer analysis to determine whether the notes have drug contamination that is higher than usual.
Sometimes there are flaws in the order from the court such as when a prosecutor has misled the court to obtain the order, or there have been substantial delays in the investigation. This can be used in your favour by the defence lawyer to get your case dismissed.
There are also occasions when somebody else is under investigation or prosecution, but it’s your assets that have been seized. The person may be a member of your family or a business associate. This is another scenario where a defence lawyer may be able to help to turn the situation to be more favourable for you.
Who Applies for a Cash Seizure?
Typically the police will apply to the magistrates court for a cash seizure. Cash seizure can take place absent any other criminal investigation or prosecution.
By the very fact that you have possession of cash over £1,000, if suspicion is raised together with some other trivial justification, the cash may be detained.
The person who is applying for the cash seizure needs to show evidence that there has been some financial benefit from the criminal activity for the person involved. Being merely suspicion is not enough for a cash seizure to be granted by the court. However, the evidence produced isn’t always confirmed to be firm evidence by the police.
When is Cash seizure likely to happen?
The most likely time for a cash seizure to be applied is when a case has progressed to the point where an arrest has been made or will be made imminently. In some cases, the application of the cash seizure will be delayed so as not to alert the suspect of an ongoing investigation.
Cash seizures take place all of the time; when you enter the UK borders, when you are driving around with money in the car, when you are exiting a bank or when police are at your home searching the premises for unrelated reasons and discover cash.
What happens when a Cash Seizure has been made?
Once cash is seized, the police will want to count it and preserve some samples in an evidence bag, just in case the money is needed to be examined for drugs residue or fingerprints.
Within 48 hours the police or the UKBA will write a witness statement containing their reasons for the cash seizure and present it to the magistrates’ court for permission to keep the money until further investigations have taken place.
They will usually be allowed 90 days at first instance, after which they must again write a further witness statement and provide further reasons if they wish to keep the cash longer.
Alternatively, they may be satisfied that they have enough reason to satisfy the court of the illegal origin of illegal destination of the money and apply to the court to forfeit the money.
It’s critical that you take legal advice from experienced cash seizure solicitor as soon as possible about how to recover your cash. If it was the UK Border Agency who seized your money, then we may even be able to apply to recover all legal costs in addition to the cash.
If you would like our cash seizure solicitors to look at your case, it’s vital that you make your request as quickly as possible.
Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible
Whether you have had your cash seized or you have other legal issues, we recommend that you engage a specialist fraud solicitor to support you immediately.
The main challenge when cash has been seized is proving that your cash was either gifted to you, earned legally or inherited and that it is not the proceed of crime. An experienced lawyer will know how to do this.
What should you do if you have a cash seizure?
Criminal law can be complicated, and without knowing the rules inside out and having the experience, it is hard to defend against. It’s important to engage with a competent fraud solicitor who has experience in the field of cash seizures, as they will be able to challenge it.
Unless you’re up to date with all the latest changes made to English law, it won’t be possible to defend yourself. You will need to know some of the strategic tactics used by lawyers in cases such as these. These tactics come from decades of practice and experience of other similar cases.
One point that you should note is that officers have discretion on whether to seize cash. There is a prescribed procedure that they must follow, and they also need to complete the appropriate forms. You should be given a copy of these forms. In addition, you should have the opportunity to explain the source of the cash and why you’re transporting it.
We recommend that as soon as you discover that a cash seizure is going to be applied to you, you get in touch with an experienced and competent fraud solicitor. It could be that your case could be stopped before it progresses to the court stage.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
Our lawyers have successfully recovered significant sums of money for individuals and businesses affected by the heavy-handed powers of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. You can find examples of such recoveries listed in the fraud cases of our website.
Our solicitors understand that being subjected to a cash seizure and cash forfeiture action can be a traumatic and anxiety inducing experience for our clients, their families and any businesses which may be affected by the seizure. As well as helping you understand the full implications of the law relating to cash seizure, our solicitors will provide you with proactive legal support every step of the way.
We possess extensive experience in financial record analysis and know how to best protect the commercial interests of our clients during the detention of the cash. It’s important that the defence of significant disruption to businesses is applied.
Most recently, our lawyers successfully recovered £58,000 for a mobile phone trader, whose cash was seized for nearly two years. Despite the proceeds of Crime Act demanding the deposit of such seized cash in an interest-bearing account within 48 hours of seizure, the metropolitan police officers involved in this case exhibited the money and detained it within a police property store, causing a loss of interest revenue for our client.
You have the right to apply for the return of any cash you’ve had seized at any time. Our team of lawyers know that this can be a stressful time for anybody who is involved in a situation of this nature. It’s vital that you engage lawyers who can help you to get the cash returned.
Contact us for a no obligation consultation that is free. We can provide you with advice to get started on getting your cash returned.
Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?
If you’d like to have a no obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.
We can provide you with a free consultation, and can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.
Please contact us for a face to face meeting or a telephone call. There is a WhatsApp link on this page if that is your preference.
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