Anecdotal evidence suggests that there has been an significant increase recently in the number of applications recently made under Section 22 of POCA 2002.
This provision allows the Crown to apply to the court for a reconsideration of a defendant’s available amount after the confiscation order has been made.
Many recent clients have fallen foul of these provisions. In one case, Client A, a defendant who had served his default sentence having been made subject to a confiscation order in excess of £1 million had recently found himself subject to a potential Section 22 Application.
The Proceeds of Crime Act requires that an offender will have to pay the entire confiscation order made against them even if they serve the full default term as Client A had.
So an offender who after leaving prison builds a new life in the community and, for example then starts a successful legitimate businesses may find themselves subject to further POCA proceedings. The Prosecution can recoup from the offender’s after acquired assets any outstanding sum that is due under the order. The offender’s available amount will be recalculated to take into account any new income or assets they have accumulated since leaving custody.
Where high value confiscation orders are made, with huge amounts of interest accumulating daily at the civil rate of 8%, any outstanding balance on the original confiscation order is likely never to be recouped.
And there is more bad news on the horizon for high value confiscation offenders. After the 1st June 2015 there will be a significant increase in the level of default prison sentences for convicted offenders.