City man has £24K suspected proceeds of crime seized - The Worcester Observer

City man has £24K suspected proceeds of crime seized

Worcester Editorial 12th Jun, 2020   0

A WORCESTER man has had almost £25,000 earned from crime or intended for use in crime seized in the first Account Forfeiture Order achieved by West Mercia Police.

Kieran Harris, 26 , of no fixed abode was subject of the orders as it was believed the monies comprised of recoverable property, derived from crime, or were intended for use in crime.

District Judge Strongman granted Account Forfeiture Orders under s303z14 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in relation to the balances of three bank accounts, totalling £24,733.94 held by Harris, during a hearing at Worcester Magistrates Court last Friday (June 5).

Account Forfeiture Orders were created by an amendment to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 via the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and allow a Magistrates’ Court to forfeit all, or part of the balances of monies held in a frozen account if they are satisfied the money is recoverable property from crime or is intended by any person for use in unlawful conduct.

The orders were granted following initial Account Freezing Orders, made at the same court in July 2019 and related to the balances of accounts held by Harris with Natwest Bank.

Further to intelligence received, West Mercia Police commenced financial enquiries in relation to the suspicious activity of the accounts held by him. Evidence confirmed that the accounts had been receiving multiple, regular, high value cash deposits for many months, which Harris claimed to originate from his self-employment as a hairdresser.

However, no business related spending was evident on the accounts and enquiries with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) confirmed Harris had declared no such self-employment and had minimal income from direct employment.

It was discovered Harris had also been in receipt of Social Security Benefits, paid into a further account held with another bank. Harris failed to provide any evidence of a legitimate source of these suspicious credits and the resulting account balances.

In addition, Harris was found to have previously been subject of a Cash Forfeiture Order and was also found to have relevant previous convictions.

In November 2015 at Worcester Magistrates’ Court, Harris was previously subject of a Cash Forfeiture Order under s298 Proceeds of Crime Act (2002). This related to £8,186.40 cash seized from him on arrest in January 2015, on suspicion of offences of arson with intent to endanger life and possession with intent to supply controlled drugs. The cash was found along with Class A drugs (cocaine and heroin) and the keys to a safety deposit box in Birmingham, which was discovered to hold further cash.

In July 2015, at Worcester Crown Court, Harris was convicted of possession of a drug of Class A Cocaine with intent to supply, possession of a drug of Class A Heroin with intent to supply, being concerned in offering to supply a drug of Class A Heroin and being concerned in offering to supply a drug of class A Cocaine. In September 2015, he was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment. Harris has 19 previous convictions between 2009 and 2018.

Det Insp Emma Wright of the Economic Crime Unit said: “The granting of these Orders shows those who attempt to hide the proceeds of crime within bank accounts will have those funds removed from them.

“In this case, Harris clearly had suspicious activity on his bank accounts, he failed to provide proof those funds were earned legitimately and had a history of convictions for drugs supply.”

“This case demonstrates even where a person is not convicted of offences in relation to the suspect monies, action can still be taken to remove the proceeds of crime and disrupt them.”


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