One of the most important steps forward in British policing and justice in recent years has definitely been the Proceeds of Crime Act. POCA has made a massive difference in the way that criminals are punished. While no one wants to go to prison, many criminals will see it as an occupational hazard and something that comes along as part of the job. If the criminal can get through their prison stretch while knowing that his ill-gotten gains will be waiting for him at the end of their sentence, they will often be more than happy to do their time peacefully.
Many criminals knew that if they kept their head down, behaved and made the most of the time and opportunity that prison offers them, they would be able to kick back in the lap of luxury once they got out. This was a trade-off that many prisoners were more than happy to make but with the introduction of POCA, this is no longer the case. This is because there is an opportunity to not only punish the prisoners with a jail sentence; there is a further chance to grab the money off them at a later date. This has led to many criminals rethinking their approach to undertaking crime.
This is because the balance between punishment and reward has shifted. While there are some criminals who are very opportunistic and will commit a crime as and when the chance arises, there are also some criminals who put a great deal of thought and effort into their deeds. There are some crimes that need a great deal of planning to be put in. These are often the ones that offer the biggest reward, so you can see why many criminals are keen to put the work in, but if there is a greater chance of their reward being taken from them, you’ll find that some criminals decide that it is no longer worth the time or effort.
Boiler Room Gangsters Make Off with a Lot of Money
This may have been what a gang of criminals who ran a boiler room scam wished they had thought. Of the six individuals involved with the crime, five of them are now in prison. However, the fact that the police are now confiscating £2.4m from them may be enough to have made them wish that they hadn’t bothered.
Okay, the fact that the crime gang actually took a total of £11m in two investment schemes means that only a small amount of the overall money is being taken, which will leave some people wondering what the point is, but there is definitely a lot to be said for making sure that people don’t get all of the benefit of the crime.
There have been calls for the POCA action to go harder, faster and deeper with respect to claiming money back from the criminals. It is fair to say that not all of the money swindled from people will be available. Criminal gangs, like any legitimate business, have costs to bear and a lot of the money can be swallowed up by the need to pay bills and buy materials.
There is also the fact that many of the criminals will spend a lot of the money very quickly so as to not have it lying around for too long. In this regard, when there is no money available, it can’t actually be seized, which is a limitation of POCA. There are arguments for seizures to be made based on the amount of money that was taken as opposed to the money that is currently available.
Land Deals can be Made by Boiler Room Fraudsters
This particular boiler room scam focused on informing people that there were sites around the UK which are ideal for housing development. The callers then solicited funds from people but it then turned out that the land on offer had little or no value. Some of the land was in greenfield belt sites, some were in flood zones and some were in areas of environmental or historic significance, all of which meant that planning permission was never going to be granted for the land that was sold. This allowed the fraudsters to bank huge profits while many people were left out of pocket.
While many people associate boiler room frauds as being linked to shares, this style of land deal is another common way that this type of crime is committed.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.