Persons who receive benefit from involvement in serious criminal activity may be the subject of Proceeds of Crime legislation – whether or not they were convicted of any criminal offence.
A person convicted or suspected of being involved in serious criminal activity may be the subject of Commonwealth or State legislation – depending on the nature of the crime.
The Criminal Assets Recovery Act 1990 (NSW) gives significant power to the NSW Crime Commission in terms of investigation and the ability to compel people to provide evidence. Quite often the first that a person knows of the involvement of the Crime Commission will be service of Seizure Orders obtained from the NSW Supreme Court restraining the sale or disposal of the property of that person – which may include cars, property, jewellery, shares etc.
The person named in the Orders must submit information about their financial affairs and may be compelled to give evidence in secret at the Commission or be examined in the Supreme Court. The penalties for giving false or misleading information include imprisonment as well as pecuniary penalties. Orders can be made for the ultimate forfeiture of illegally obtained property, or property tainted by the fact that it was somehow involved in the commission of the serious criminal offence.
The NSW Police tend to take action using the Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime Act. Federal offences may lead to action being taken under the confiscation of Proceeds of Crimes Act (Commonwealth). Both of these Draconian acts of parliament have little regard for hardship – for example the acts of a husband may have financially devastating effects upon the wife and children. There is no discretion in forfeiture orders under these acts – if part of a house was financed through serious criminal activity, the whole house would be forfeited.
Nyman Gibson Stewart has a high degree of expertise and experience in dealing with Proceeds of Crime matters. We make certain that our client’s rights are protected so that their assets are not unfairly targeted and forfeited by authorities.
If you are affected by, or at risk of being subjected to proceeds of crime legislation – contact one of our accredited criminal law specialists for an urgent appointment.