Cash Seizure Solicitors

We have a track record of successfully contesting cash seizures and have secured the return of very large sums of cash in contested cash seizures.

Carrying and possessing large sums of cash is now a dangerous and risky activity. Cash forfeiture applications are rising year-on-year as the police increasingly take advantage of their sweeping powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) to seize and detain cash sums above found in the possession of an individual. Getting the cash back, even if you have a legitimate explanation to explain where it came from can be difficult, time-consuming and problematic.

At GCG we have a track record of successfully contesting cash seizures and have recently secured the return of very large sums of cash – several hundred thousand pounds – in contested cash seizure applications. We also offer preventative advice for individuals and companies who are engaged in lawful cash businesses such as money exchange bureaus or small traders who fear they may be targeted under the POCA laws.

It can be a shock to discover how Draconian the POCA cash seizure laws are for anyone whose cash is taken by the police. The authorities do not need to prove any underlying crime to justify seizing it. Their burden of showing “reasonable suspicion’ that the cash comes from some type of criminal conduct is very low.

The POCA laws also place an onus on the person concerned to bring evidence to show that the cash they held does not represent the proceeds of crime.  Furthermore, while they investigate the provenance of the detained cash, the police can hold it for up to two years. Having your cash tied up for 2 years can be crippling for an individual or small business and we specialise in early proactive steps to try to recover funds seized and in contesting forfeiture applications.

Surprisingly few cash forfeiture applications are contested. As our case studies demonstrate police forfeiture applications are often highly opportunistic and can be challenged. They are frequently made when the police have little or no evidence to suspect the money is the product of illegal conduct.

Under the Home Office Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme however the police have a strong incentive to purse these cases. If they win they can keep a percentage of any monies forfeited. This can give them a valuable additional income stream. It is therefore no surprise that cash seizure applications are increasing at a time when police funding has been drastically cut by central government.  

Client A The company premises were searched in the course of a police fraud investigation. The authorities later applied for a cash forfeiture application claiming the monies represented the proceeds of crime. GCG were instructed to resist the application. The matter is set down for a contested hearing. Following GCG representations in writing, the authorities withdrew the application and the cash was returned to our clients.

Client B was the owner and MD of a company providing training services that was the subject of parallel regulatory and police investigations. His original lawyers had not scrutinised the conduct of the police during the course of the investigation. On review, GCG advised that the client and other accused had grounds to apply to quash the search warrants obtained by the police and to challenge cash detention orders. Judicial review proceedings commenced and were later settled with the authorities agreeing to quash the search warrants and pay compensation to each client. The cash seizure proceedings were also settled with in excess returned to our clients.

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