The RCIPS Financial Crime Unit (FCU) has been taking a different approach in their efforts to tackle crime, by going after the profits of crime.
In the past two weeks the FCU has obtained three court orders using both civil and criminal powers under the Proceeds of Crime Law, confiscating and forfeiting just over KYD $36,500 of criminal funds. In all three cases, the orders have been enforced with full payment being made.
In the first case, a Colombian National consented to the forfeiture of KYD $23,700, which is believed to be money obtained through illegal gambling. This was done under a Proceeds of Crime Law - Recovery Order and is the first time that a civil power of recovery has been used to forfeit assets which are suspected to be the profit of crime.
In another case, Nickolay Nickolov, a Bulgarian national who was convicted of Theft and Attempted Theft, received a forfeiture order for KYD $2,400. This is the amount of cash that was found in his possession at the time he was arrested by a Financial Investigator from the FCU. Prior to the forfeiture order Mr. Nickolov had also paid compensation of KYD $1,050 to two financial institutions
In the third case, Alexander Ebanks was ordered to pay a confiscation order for KYD $10,256, having previously been convicted of Conspiracy to Supply Drugs.
To deprive criminals of the profit from crime, the FCU uses a separate civil power to seize cash suspected to be the proceeds of crime, with the aim of seeking a civil forfeiture in court. At the same time, a criminal money laundering investigation is conducted. If the forfeiture is granted, the forfeited funds then become property of the Crown.
“We are working with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to fully utilize the provisions available in the Proceeds of Crime legislation, in order to take the financial benefit out of crime,” said Chief Inspector Richard Barrow of the Financial Crime Unit. “This means that even in cases where the evidential threshold is not met for the criminal offense, we can still seek to pursue and eliminate the financial benefit gained from that criminal activity. We are pleased to see that this area of focus has been met with recent successes.”
The Financial Crime Unit has also been assisting the Community Policing Department and the multi-agency Joint Task Force in their proactive operations and have recently seized cash in excess of KYD $15,000. This money is suspected to be the profits of drug dealing, money laundering, and illegal gambling, and these cases are currently under investigation for these criminal offences.
Photo: Part of the cash seized by FCU Officers during a Community Police Operation in George Town targeting alleged illegal gambling