WMP swoop to recover £3 million of illegal gains
Crooks have been ordered to hand back more than £3 million of ’dirty money’ in just 12 months after West Midlands Police pursued their ill-gotten gains.
The force’s financial investigators have used the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to seize illegally earned cash or assets from criminals.
It saw more than 120 confiscation orders to the value of over £3.1 million granted through the courts during 2018 along with 10 forfeiture orders worth £115,000.
This has led to a range of crooks - from convicted drug dealers to fraudsters - being told to hand back money as the force ensures that crime does not pay.
These included further enquiries into a 35-year-old Stechford man given a suspended 18 month jail sentence for production of cannabis.
Additional financial investigations into large cash deposits were carried out and he was ordered to pay back £130,282 from criminal gains last year.
A 33-year-old drug dealer jailed for 30 months in May 2017 was also told to hand back £56,834.02 found to have been his benefit from crime.
Those who refuse to pay up face extended spells behind bars although the debt is never cancelled. It continues to hang over them until repaid and officers can recover cash and assets from them at any stage in the future.
The money recovered is split between the force, the Home Office, CPS and courts. If there is an identifiable victim then compensation can be paid from recovered funds. Money allocated to West Midlands Police is ploughed into the Police & Crime Commissioner’s Active Citizens fund and spent on crime prevention or community projects.
Head of the force’s Economic Crime Unit, Jenny Birch, said: "We are determined to ensure crooks can never benefit from their illegal activities - even years after their crime.
"This highlights that just because a criminal has been sentenced it is not always the end of our investigation.
"POCA is a vital tool in helping us to ensure crime doesn’t pay!"
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added: "It sends a strong message, that we are taking money off criminals and funding worthy causes through my Active Citizens Fund with the money.
"From after-school sports clubs to street watch groups and more, we will be spending ill-gotten-gains to make communities safer."