Money Laundering is the process by which criminal proceeds are ‘washed’ in order to disguise their illicit origins. Criminals will attempt to distance themselves from their crimes by finding safe havens for their profits where they can avoid confiscation orders, and where those proceeds can be made to appear legitimate.
The principal money laundering offences can be found in sections 327, 328 and 329 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. These offences come into force on 24 February 2003 and can be charged by way of conspiracy or an attempt to commit such an offence.Money laundering includes counselling, aiding or abetting or procuring.
In essence, section 327 – 329 comprise of:-
- concealing criminal property;
- disguising criminal property;
- converting criminal property;
- transferring criminal property;
- removing criminal property from England and Wales
- an arrangement, acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person.
- Using or possessing criminal property with the necessary knowledge or suspicion that the property represented a benefit from criminal conduct.
Practically speaking this could be, hiding your illicit cash under the bed, buying a nice watch, going on a fancy holiday or simply paying it into the bank. It doesn’t matter what you do with it, its where it came from that matters.
So the crucial question for your defence is – can you prove that your cash came from a legitimate source or source you reasonably expected to be legitimate. Whilst technically the onus is on the prosecution to prove that your cash was dirty, they do not have to establish the precise criminality from which the dirty cash was generated. Therefore, the evidence upon which they will rely will often be circumstantial and based on assumptions.
Burton Copeland has 35 years experience in dealing with financial crime. The team in our Corporate and Financial Crime Department and have been representing individuals falling foul of the Proceeds of Crime Act since it’s inception in 2003.
Our POCA expert solicitors are based in Manchester but service the whole of the North West and beyond.