Criminals across the region have been stripped of more than £1m thanks to a specialist financial unit.
The Eastern Region Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) team, which was launched in October 2014, works with a number of law enforcement agencies to recover proceeds of crime from offenders.
Within the Eastern Region Special Operation Unit (ERSOU) the ACE team assists enforcement of Proceeds of Crime Act Confiscation Orders on behalf of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk forces, in addition to those secured by other agencies in the region.
In the current financial year the ACE team has recovered £1,244,971 in funds which will be divided between victims of crime, the Home Office and forces within the region to fund the fight against crime and community-based projects. The unit has secured a total of £1,543,793 since its inception.
Financial Investigations Manager Steve Keating said: “The team aims to hit criminals where they feel it most – in their pocket.
“The unit will regularly re-visit cases to uncover any apparent hidden assets to ensure crime really does not pay.
“The team regularly attend the Confiscation Enforcement Court based in Dover and work closely with HM Courts & Tribunals Service to assist with cases that have extended beyond payment deadlines. This joint working has improved the effectiveness of the court, saved valuable court time, and successfully concluded long-running cases.”
A woman from Suffolk was made to pay compensation of £14,000 to a victim, following a successful confiscation and compensation order granted under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The order was made after the woman served a prison sentence for a conviction of fraud by abuse of position.
The ACE team identified the offender had assets not previously included within the financial investigation and proceeded to work with her to resolve her order.
The team assisted in the sale of a collector’s sports car and realisation of her private pension to provide the full £14,000 which was paid to the victim in compensation.