4 September 2013

Suspect someone is not quite what or who they seem? Crimestoppers is asking you if you know of any individuals or businesses that are benefiting from the proceeds of crime. 

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What crimes are committed by individuals living off the proceeds of crime? What's the cost to the public?

The types of crimes these individuals are committing include drug dealing, burglary and fraud, with the latter said to cost the UK public £52 billion each year, according to the Annual Fraud Indicator.

Know someone committing crime and living off its proceeds? Give information to us anonymously now: click here

Case studies

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Case Study
The Property Thieves

An example of a case brought against a group living off the proceeds of crime saw a restraint obtained to freeze their assets. The group visited several elderly victims and claimed that they needed work to their properties, as they were unsafe. They deceived the vulnerable victims out of thousands of pounds and in some cases got the owners to sign over the title deeds of their properties. Financial evidence was obtained to support the victims’ allegation and dismantle a large organised criminal network that had been committing similar offences towards victims over a number of years, resulting in them owning a large number of properties.

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Case Study 2
The Drug Dealing Hairdresser

A husband and wife were supplying drugs in Bromley - the husband had acquired a car and £2,980.00 cash. The female had been working as a hairdresser and had accumulated £3,591.00 cash. She claimed that the cash was from hairdressing and not drugs – police investigation determined criminal activity had taken place.

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Case Study 3
The Trafficking Taxi Firm

The Metropolitan Police investigated reports of a network of drug-traffickers in London and discovered cash totalling £2.6million. £2 million of this was successfully confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and 33 members of the network were convicted between 2008 and 2011. The front for the activity was a West London taxi firm and it was here that drugs were trafficked and money-laundering took place. At Court the actual benefits of the criminality was deemed to be £99.7million and so an additional £5m could be retrieved.

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Case Study 4
The Fraudulent Mortgage Broker

A fraudulent mortgage broker in North London was found by the MPS to be providing criminals with fake documents and other information. He was also arranging discounts of £10K-£20k on new-build houses, which he kept, but which also allowed him to arrange mortgages larger than the purchase price. He managed to conceal his criminality by using fake IDs, verified by associates, and false bank accounts. The civil recovery of his assets (12 properties in the UK, including his multi-million pound home in London, and overseas) are still underway but the fraudulent brokers were jailed and had an immediate £23k taken off him by the Courts

Aren't most people buying goods through legitimate means?

Please note that the signs listed below could all be signs of legitimate wealth.  We recognise that the majority of people buy goods with money from inheritance, benefits, lottery winnings, earned income etc.  However, in combination with no apparent means to pay for these goods, these could be signs that an individual is living off the proceeds of crime.  We are asking the public to use their common sense to differentiate between those who are in possession of goods through legitimate means, and those who may be benefiting from the proceeds of crime.

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If you would like to pass on information anonymously please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or complete our Anonymous Online Form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I’m wrong? What if I contact Crimestoppers and it turns out the person I suspect is in fact living off of legally obtained money?

Information given to us by the public is like a piece of a puzzle, and that piece will be connected with other information and means the police have to make the bigger picture. A number of factors and pieces of information will lead to an arrest. The police cannot get a search warrant or make an arrest based solely on anonymous information – there needs to be other intelligence that supports Crimestoppers' information. The research they do on Crimestoppers' information means they can use it with confidence. Once the information has been researched, the police will allocate this to an appropriate officer or team to deal with. This could mean more research or action may be taken.

How can Crimestoppers tell whether or not someone is living off the proceeds of crime?

Crimestoppers works with a variety of stakeholders, including law enforcement, to identity possible signs that an individual is living off the proceeds of crime - the case studies above are real life examples of where individuals and businesses have benefited from the proceeds of crime. Crimestoppers is not itself a law enforcement body - we exist to enable people to give information about crime anonymously - we then anonymise the information given to us and pass it on to law enforcement.

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