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Expert Accountant For Confiscation Proceedings

Mark Jenner is regularly instructed as an expert accountant for confiscation proceedings. Typically this is the provision of an expert accountant’s report that responds to the Prosecutor’s Section 16 Statement of Information prepared under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The forensic accounting work might include a number of tasks depending on the nature of the case:

  • An initial no obligation review of the S16 Statement and supporting appendices
  • A request for additional information if appropriate
  • The preparation of a detailed forensic accountant’s tender to submit for funding
  • Discussing the issues with instructing lawyers
  • Meeting the defendant – sometimes involving a prison visit
  • Understanding and analysing documents
  • Summarising information and cross referring to S16 Statement
  • Recalculating benefit and available amount
  • Attending a meeting of experts with the prosecutor’s financial investigator
  • Discussing issues with counsel for the defendant
  • Attending court – to give evidence orally or assist counsel

Why Use An Expert Accountant For Confiscation Proceedings?

Confiscation proceedings usually involve the prosecution examining a defendant’s financial affairs after conviction for a qualifying crime. Put simply, a qualifying crime is one where the defendant gained a financial benefit. Very often the defendant has had control of multiple bank accounts over many years and obtained several properties with mortgages. The prosecutor normally looks back at least the six years prior to the initial charging. The accounts and properties might be either in the defendant’s own name or in the name of a relative or associate. He or she might have numerous various other assets.

The financial picture needs clarifying by a forensic accountant . The prosecutor’s finacial investigator will have attempted to do this when preparing the S16 Statement. This is an assessment of the criminal benefit and amount available for realisation. However, the investigator is likely to have inflated his assessment for a number of reasons:

  • Making inapropriate assumptions
  • Ignoring relevant legitimate income
  • Failure to thoroughly investigate business activities
  • Double counting transactions
  • Also including particular criminal benefit within lifestyle benefit
  • Over enthusiastic interpretation of hidden assets

Dealing With Confiscation Proceedings

Confiscation proceedings have become a routine part of the criminal prosecution framework. In theory they are meant to deprive the criminal of their proceeds of crime. In practice the prosecution attempts to use them as an additional layer of punishment. This is why, in most cases an independent review will reduce (often substantially) the amount of benefit to pay back. Providing such a review of both criminal confiscations and asset forfeiture applications has become a routine part of the work that Mark Jenner & Co Limited carries out.