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The term tipping off is used when somebody informs a third party who is involved in money laundering or another financial crime that they may be part of an investigation.

As with any crime, there needs to be evidence to prove that it took place. Allegations of tipping off can either be proven by evidence taken from a mobile phone, computer evidence or by the presentation of circumstantial evidence, leading to the conclusion that the tipping off offence has been committed.

Financial crime investigations are stressful, upsetting and can turn your life upside down. There may be restraint orders placed or cash seizures and confiscations made.

It’s crucial that you take immediate steps to engage a specialist money laundering solicitor to help you with defending yourself.

On this page, you’ll find the questions that our tipping off clients typically ask with answers. If you have a question that is not listed here, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can call us on 0208 888 5225 or contact us on our form.  We can provide you with answers to any of your questions or give you more information about how to protect yourself or your family.

Have you been arrested or charged with Tipping Off offences?

If you or somebody close to you has been arrested or charged in connection to a tipping off offence, it’s likely that you feel stressed, worried, confused and concerned about what will happen next.

It’s a time when people worry about what the penalty might be if they are found to be guilty and convicted.

What type of actions are considered Tipping Off?

Here are some examples of tipping off that may have led to the situation at hand.

Warning somebody that they are part of a money laundering investigation – warning somebody that they could be involved in a money laundering investigation will mean that they change their behaviour to avoid being caught in the act of offending. This includes telling somebody that a Suspicious Activity Report – otherwise known as SAR has been made about them. The SAR would typically be handed to HMRC, the police, SOCA or another nominated officer.

Disclosing information to somebody who is part of a Terrorism investigation – in some cases, tipping off isn’t about financial offences, it’s related to terrorism. By telling somebody that there are suspicions about there being involved in terrorism, you could prevent the person from behaving how they normally would and therefore avoid being caught offending.

The penalty for tipping off is typically in line with penalties that would be given in a case of failing to tell the authorities if you suspect money laundering or terrorism is taking place.

What happens in a Tipping Off investigation?

As with any other investigation, prosecutors will put a focus on collecting evidence to prove they have a case against you for tipping off. This will involve forensics, mobile phone and other communication data collection, telephone numbers in storage, sim card records and mobile cell use.

When a tipping off investigation takes place, it can be a time when you feel stressed out and worried. You’re likely to feel concerned about not being able to pay your bills, feed your family and maintain your mortgage. Your life will feel unstable and uncertain.

Any criminal investigation, including that of a tipping off investigation can be complicated and lengthy.

You may have been falsely accused of tipping off

If you’ve been wrongly accused of being involved in a tipping off offence, then you’ll be confused about why you’re being investigated. This is a crucial time to engage an experienced defence lawyer with experience in defending tipping off allegations.

It’s also important for lawyers and financial professionals to not inadvertently tip off suspects, even if they have to explain why a transaction has not taken place.

Without a lawyer, you cannot find out more until the interview

The police are not always transparent with their investigations. They may ask you into the police station to listen to ‘your side of the story’. The role of the police is to try to gain a conviction, and they may play under-hand tactics to achieve that.

We recommend that you do not attend a police interview or enter into any conversations with the police without first engaging a lawyer. With legal support, you’ll be far more knowledgeable about what you should say and what you shouldn’t. Without a lawyer by your side, you may even say something to incriminate yourself.

Having a lawyer involved may also give you access to a greater disclosure about what evidence the police have on you with regards to you tipping off.

The police may withhold some evidence, and your lawyer will advise you on the best way to navigate this tactic. Without a lawyer, you could well step into one of the ‘traps’ set by police to encourage you to say something that will incriminate you.

A search warrant gives Police full access

In order to gather more evidence that will lead to a conviction, the police will typically seek a search warrant from a judge or a magistrate. They will want to search every area of your life in the hope of finding evidence that can be used against you.

They may search your home, your vehicle and even your place of work. Social media and email accounts will be inspected as will your mobile phone for further evidence. Everybody you have contact with will be looked into.

When you are invited to take part in the police interview, it will be tape-recorded to be used as evidence in court.

It’s essential that you hire a legal professional with experience in tipping off. It would help if you had the best possible defence strategy. There may even be the possibility of getting your case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.

What should you do if you get arrested or charged with Tipping Off?

Our specialist money laundering solicitors have the knowledge, the expertise and the skill to defend allegations of tipping off, whether in the regulated sector or otherwise.

A good defence team must be proactive, not reactive. Your lawyers must be dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome and must be able to find creative solutions to known encounters in tipping off allegations. Our money laundering solicitors are not only available to advise and assist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; they are active listeners, keen investigators and focused on achieving the agreed objectives.

Defending Tipping Off Allegations

There are three main stages of any money laundering activity. Placement, layering and integration take place, and at any one of these stages, somebody may realise that there is an investigation taking place.

We have defended businesses, professionals and individuals caught up in tipping off allegations. Whether the tipping off relates to deliberately or accidentally alerting someone of a suspicious activity report, or relates to the disclosure of information which will prejudice a money laundering investigation; our money laundering solicitors will meticulously analyse the evidence and extract weaknesses from it. We will identify missing evidence which may not have been disclosed to bolster the prosecution case and we will undertake our own investigations to gather supporting defence materials.

Allegations of tipping off will either be proven by the use of mobile phone or computer evidence or by the presentation of circumstantial evidence, leading to the irrefutable suggestion that the tipping off offence has been committed.

We have a defined list of tested and vetted barristers and QCs who are not only talented, but also motivated to win. We will draw on financial experts, mobile phone analysts and computer evaluation experts to build credible evidence to support your case.

If you have credible witnesses to present, we will obtain witness statements and make any other associated enquiries. Whether the material we discover is directly important or indirectly relevant, we will pursue all lines of enquiry in line with the defence strategy we will agree with you from the outset.

Can the police search my home?

The police can search your home as they will be seeking evidence. The authorities will have granted access to your property through the provision of a search warrant, and the police will carry through the search.

The police may also search your car, your business premises and other premises that are affiliated to you.

Could you go to prison for Tipping Off?

Tipping off is considered a serious crime as it can prevent a police investigation from running its full length. However, it needn’t result in a prison sentence every time.

By taking the right steps and hiring a proficient legal representative, you may even be able to get your case dismissed. At worst, you will be guided so that you can get the best possible outcome and avoid prison.

We handle tipping off cases regularly and have an in-depth knowledge of this field. Our legal experts can recommend the best course of action to take to mitigate the outcome. No matter what size your case is, get in touch.

What type of sentence could you get for Tipping Off?

This will depend on how serious the original investigation was that you’re tipping off prejudiced. The sentence you get could be as much as five years imprisonment. Read more information about sentencing for Tipping Off

What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?

When sentencing for tipping off, your case will be looked at for how serious the crime was that your actions prejudiced. Whether you have got a previous criminal record will also be taken into account to decide your sentence.

Your personal circumstances, medial issues, your responsibilities, your businesses and your level of involvement and calculation in the office will also be paramount consideration.

Does a conviction for Tipping Off go on your criminal record?

If your tipping off case is heard in court and you are convicted of the crime, your conviction will be recorded on your CRB / police record.

The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of the sentence imposed on you.

In addition, you will most likely face confiscation proceedings and the prosecution will seek to strip you from your assets or demand a further and additional term of imprisonment for not paying the money.

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

Many people come to us for help when they are charged with tipping off. We have a lot of experience and understanding of different defence tactics and strategies. We know the law and stay current with changes.

Here at Stuart Miller, we can provide you with legal advice from the moment you feel you may be suspected through to the final stage of the case. We will advise you on how to handle any communication with the police so that you don’t inadvertently make your situation worse than it need be.

What will happen when I instruct a Money laundering solicitor?

Early action in any case is pivotal to increasing the chances of success. In such complex and intimidating investigations or prosecutions, you will require legal expertise at every crossroad. If you have been served with a restraint order, your cash is seized or you are worried about confiscation proceedings and director disqualification order, our money laundering solicitors will guide you through every aspect of the case.

You will feel a lot more at ease about the situation as you’ll know that we are handling it for you. We have a specialist team who are very up to date on benefits rules and regulations.

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 contact us today.  Remember that you should not in any circumstances, go to a police station interview without a lawyer.

In addition be being pleased to offer you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing you 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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