Scotland

Dirty money: Proceeds of Crime seizures

More than £5.5m was recovered from criminals in Scotland last year using Proceeds of Crime legislation. The Crown Office has provided this list of case studies detailing who some of that cash was seized from and how it had been obtained.

UNNAMED - BANK AND IDENTITY FRAUD - £96,000

In June 2009 bank staff in Dundee alerted Tayside Police they were suspicions about a Nigerian male who had been withdrawing large amounts of money from the branch or transferring large amounts to other accounts.

Tayside Police Financial Investigation Unit officers investigated and found he had been using identity stolen from a dead child and that the fraudster had been staying in the Dundee and London areas but scamming worldwide.

He had been sending letters and e-mails world-wide offering investment opportunities with promise of large rewards for small investments in a number of schemes.

The bank froze the known bank accounts immediately, however, it was later found that his associates throughout England had emptied others within hours of Dundee bank staff making the challenge.

It was later learned that the suspect had fled the country using another passport. His present location is unknown.

The case was passed to Civil Recovery Unit who froze the accounts and recovered some of the money.

(This individual cannot be named due to his associates being the subject of active proceedings in England)

GEORGE BUCHANAN - DRUG DEALING - £45,000

He was sequestrated at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday following his failure to pay legal fees he owed to the Civil Recovery Unit.

Mr Buchanan was originally acquitted of drugs charges in July 2004 but the Civil Recovery Unit launched an investigation into his assets and thereafter raised recovery proceedings in the Court of Session.

In 2008 Lord Penrose ruled that assets, which included cash, cars and sums in a bank account represented the proceeds of crime, namely drug dealing.

Buchanan, who was described by Lord Penrose as "a significant player in the illicit drugs trade", was also found liable for legal expenses incurred by the Civil Recovery Unit in raising the proceedings against him.

MOHAMMED RIASAT - VAT EVASION - £209,787.63

He was investigated by HMRC in relation to suspected VAT evasion at a restaurant business in Edinburgh. An investigation was subsequently carried out by the Civil Recovery Unit. Amongst assets identified and considered recoverable were a large quantity of cash recovered during premises searches carried out by HMRC during their initial investigation and the free proceeds from the sale of two heritable properties held by Sheriff Clerks at Edinburgh and Lanark respectively. A number of bank accounts with credit balances were also identified as recoverable.

Extensive and continuous efforts were made by both HMRC and Lothian & Borders Police to trace Riasat, to no avail.

In December 2009, the Court of Session granted a Prohibitory Property Order under Section 255A and a Recovery Order under Section 266 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Eventually, with appropriate authority from the Court of Session all the funds sought were recovered and transferred to the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

GIAN HAYER - VAT FRAUD - £458,486.31

Mr Hayer was investigated by HMRC on a VAT related matter.

Working closely their Criminal Investigation Team, the Civil Recovery Unit was able to build a case against Mr Hayer that ultimately achieved the recovery of more than £450,000.

In May 2009, the Court of Session granted a Prohibitory Property Order under Section 255A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

On learning that Mr Hayer had moved abroad, the Civil Recovery Unit immediately intimated to his solicitors that they intended to proceed with a Petition for Civil Recovery without delay.

Following further communication with his solicitor, a settlement was agreed and the money has now been paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

OPERATION LOCKDOWN - DRUGS AND LAUNDERING - £515,997

Operation Lockdown was a surveillance led operation into large scale commercial import and distribution of class A controlled drugs. Following conviction for drugs and money laundering offences, confiscation orders were made in respect of four individuals.

  • Brian McCulloch ordered to hand over £171,372
  • Steven Caddis - £127,000
  • Gary Caddis - £90,000
  • Stephen Jamieson - 127, 625.

OTHERS

Confiscation orders were also made in relation to the following individuals:

  • Martin Glover - Mortgage Fraud - £122,879.38
  • Michael Nordon - Drugs - £97,780.66
  • David Wallis - Drugs - £103,437.68
  • Iain McDonald - Drugs - £145,042.06.

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