Mark Jenner & Co was involved in a confiscation case recently where the principles established in the case of R – v – Allpress were argued, including within the forensic accountant’s report!
This was the case of a successful businessman who had a very large property portfolio – but who also enjoyed gambling. As a result of the company he kept, it was alleged that he was recruited by a group of criminals to assist with the laundering of their criminal funds by gambling.
In fact gambling is a very inefficient method for money laundering for two main reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that gambling is definately a mugs game – and the likelihood is that losses will be made. However, if the criminals are prepared to put up with this risk then so be it. However, in today’s casinos there are controls in place to prevent money laundering. The most obvious control is that if you win money, you will be paid back your winnings with the cash that you introduced in the first place! Therefore it is impossible to launder large amounts of money in this way.
However, this defendant was given the task of gambling criminal funds and presumably took a cut every time he won. Therefore the capital that he gambled was not the proceeds of any crime that he had been involved with. The question was – was he a money launderer or was he a simple recruit carrying out a paid activity for the criminals?
In R – v – Allpress it had been established that a mere courier or custodian did not in fact benefit from the entirety of the cash being laundered, if he was paid for his duties by the criminals. A distinction was drawn between a money launderer and his employees. The important fact to establish is whether the courier or custodian had an interest in the sums being laundered. In the gambling case it is likely that the Defendant did not.
As with most cases that go unreported, this case settled without the legal arguments involving decided cases being properly aired. In the end it came down to the Crown and the Defendant agreeing a moderately large benefit figure and a sum for realisable assets that it was possible for the Defendant to pay without suffereing a default sentence!
R – v – Banks  2 Crown App. R(S)110
Sometimes property can be obtained only partially in connection with criminal conduct – however in Proceeds of Crime cases the benefit will be assessed at the value of the property actually obtained.
In R – v – Banks it was determined that it was not just the net profit of criminal behaviour that determined benefit, but the amount of money passing through the defendant’s hands leading to that net profit.