CPS recover £500k from canoe fraudster wife Anne Darwin

Anne Darwin Assets included a fourth floor apartment in Panama City

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More than half a million pounds has been recovered from Anne Darwin in connection with an insurance fraud over her husband's faked death.

John Darwin was reported missing in a canoe in the North Sea off Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, in March 2002.

His wife collected £501,641.39 in life insurance payouts while he hid in their marital home, allowing their two sons to think their father was dead.

The pair were found guilty of the deception in 2008.

Assets included a fourth floor apartment in Panama City and an overgrown plot of land near the artificial Lake Gatun, which forms part of the Panama Canal. Both have now been sold.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was granted a confiscation order to retrieve the money Mrs Darwin received from her insurance companies and pension funds.

Kingsley Hyland, head of the North East CPS Complex Casework Unit, said: "After a painstaking operation over the past two-and-a-half years, the CPS has now successfully recovered all the assets which Anne Darwin held as a result of the fraud, amounting to £501,641.39."

The CPS obtained a freezing order under the Proceeds of Crime Act in December 2007, which prevented Mrs Darwin from accessing her assets.

John Darwin In November 2007 Darwin returned to the UK, telling police he was a missing person with amnesia

All the money held in accounts in the UK and Panama, which totalled about £9,000, has also been seized.

This money will now be returned to the insurance companies and pension funds involved.

Mr Hyland said: "It has taken some time to sell the property in Panama but we are extremely pleased to have got through the very complex process of recovering this money from overseas.

"It is important that fraudsters see that not only will we prosecute them wherever possible, but we will also make every effort to retrieve their ill-gotten gains to return them to those they have defrauded."

Darwin, 61, was jailed in July 2008 for six years for deception, while 60-year-old Anne Darwin was jailed for six-and-a-half-years for fraud and money-laundering.

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