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Those who commit offences and then launder the proceeds of those criminal offences. The criminal offences are referred to as “predicate offences”.
Those whose only criminal involvement is to launder the proceeds of crime committed by others.
Property is widely defined under POCA and includes money; all forms of property or real estate; things in action and other intangible or incorporeal property.
Due to the definition of criminal property, there is no distinction between the proceeds of the defendant's own crimes and of crimes committed by others.
Criminal conduct is conduct which constitutes an offence in any part of the UK, or would constitute an offence in any part of the UK if it occurred there.
Money laundering prosecutions focus on two types of offending. Firstly, there is offending where money laundering can be charged or included on an indictment in which the underlying predicate offence (the offence from which the proceeds of crime came) is included. This is an “own proceeds" or "self-laundering", where the defendant in a money laundering case may also be the author of the predicate crime for example, a defendant may be charged with Conspiracy to Burgle.
This is an offence the defendant may have also committed themselves. Additionally, the defendant may also be charged with a money laundering offence for converting the proceeds of the Conspiracy to Burgle.
Secondly and using our example above, a defendant may not have been part of the Conspiracy to Burgle at all but they may launder the proceeds of the burglary for the person of the predicate offence.
The principal money laundering offences can be found at section 327 to 329 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. All of these offences carry a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment. Below is a brief outline of the law.
Section 327 states that it is an offence for someone who is concealing, disguising, converting, transferring or removing criminal property from England and Wales or from Scotland or from Northern Ireland;
Concealing or disguising criminal property is defined as concealing or disguising its nature, source, location, disposition, movement or ownership or any rights with respect to said property.
Section 328 states that “a person commits an offence if he enters into or becomes concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates (by whatever means) the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person.”
This offence includes a wide range of activity involving those who launder on behalf of others, usually at the layering and integration stages. It can catch individuals who work in financial or credit institutions, accountants or other professionals, who facilitate money laundering by or on behalf of others, in the course of their work.
The prosecution has to prove that the defendant enters into or becomes concerned in an arrangement; which he knows or suspects facilitates (by whatever means) the acquisition, retention, use or control; of criminal property; by or on behalf of another person.
The laundered assets need not belong to the accused individual.
Under section 329 a person commits an offence if he acquires criminal property; uses criminal property; or has possession of criminal property.
The prosecution has to prove the defendant acquired, used or possessed of criminal property; and that when doing so, he had the necessary knowledge or suspicion that the property represented a benefit from criminal conduct.
At Levales Solicitors, we can provide a robust defence for financial and business criminal offences as well as a number of other criminal matters. If you or your business are facing criminal charges, speak with our team today to see how we can help you. Here are just a selection of the testimonials we have received from clients for our services:
Fast, pragmatic, professional and courteous service.
AMB of London
Very friendly and helpful and felt they really cared.
SM of Surrey
R v M 2020 Guildford Crown Court
Drew Pettifer successfully secured the acquittal of a mentally vulnerable defendant charged with Conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and Money Laundering.
R v JS 2018 Isleworth Crown Court
Ruth Cassidy successfully persuaded the Crown to discontinue confiscation proceedings against a client who had pleaded guilty to the importation of class C drugs.
R v GC 2020 Guildford Crown Court
We contested confiscation proceedings following a large supply of drugs case. We were able to reduce the figure of criminal benefit found against our client by over £20,000.
R v LF 2021 St Albans Crown Court
Ruth Cassidy was able to negotiate with the prosecution in relation to a Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings to come to an agreement which was approved by all parties.