Crimestoppers is today launching a campaign appealing for information on individuals living a life of luxury off the proceeds of crime, with around £62 million worth of assets recovered in London alone last year*.
The campaign, titled ‘Filthy Rich’, is being launched in London and is appealing to the general public to contact the crime-fighting charity about people and businesses they know of who are benefitting financially from criminal activity.
This could be in the form of individuals living a lifestyle that is perhaps “too good to be true” - being in possession of expensive items such as luxury vehicles, taking regular trips abroad, owning multiple homes here or and abroad, or simply flashing their cash on a regular basis – all potentially acquired through criminal activity. You may think this is a crime that doesn’t affect you, but you would be wrong.
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.
It is not just individuals who are attempting to get away with this crime, however. Businesses also benefit from illegally obtained income through crimes such as arranging fraudulent mortgages, selling stolen mobile phones or money laundering, using what would appear to be a legitimate company to disguise their criminal activity.
A recent case saw police investigate reports of a network of drug-traffickers in London and discovered cash totalling £2.6million.
Around £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.
Another 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 around London 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 their ownership of a large number of properties which could then be seized.
All Law Enforcement Agencies receive a Home Office approved financial return dependent upon the type of case, which can then be reinvested in the police to help them take even more cash and assets off criminals.
Regan Hook, Crimestoppers Campaigns Manager for London, said: “Those living off the proceeds of crime are living a life of luxury, while the victims of their crimes pay the price both emotionally, and in most cases, financially. When criminal funds are derived from robbery, extortion, embezzlement or fraud, a money laundering investigation is frequently the only way to locate the stolen funds and restore them to the victims.
“You go out and earn an honest living, so why shouldn’t these criminals? Do you think it’s fair that they are living a lavish lifestyle with money obtained from innocent people? If not, then tell us who they are, not who you are, and contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 and we’ll do the rest.
If you have any information on anyone who is living off the proceeds of crime please contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through our Anonymous Online Form.
For more information contact Crimestoppers Media Officer Kieran Theivam on 0208 835 3727 or email Kieran.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
- *The figure of £62 million of assets recovered is provided by the Metropolitan Police
- Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps the police to solve crimes, making communities safer. It does this by operating the 24/7 telephone number 0800 555 111 which people can ring to pass on information about crimes anonymously. They can also use our Anonymous Online Form.
- Around 20 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers
- Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over a million actionable calls, resulting in over 124,000 arrests and charges. Over £126 million worth of goods has been recovered and over £301 million worth of drugs has been seized.
- In 2005, Crimestoppers launched the UK’s Most Wanted on its website which allows the public to view images of criminals and pass on vital information about their whereabouts. It has been highly successful with over 2,300 arrests to date.
- Crimestoppers UK was founded by Lord Ashcroft, KCMG, Chairman of Trustees. In 1988, he launched Crimestoppers in the Metropolitan Police area. Crimestoppers’ ‘call to action’ is built on a three-way partnership between the business community, the police and the media.