On 1 September 2015, as a result of a private prosecution which we brought on behalf of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) in partnership with the London Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART), two security company directors were ordered to pay a total of £666,697 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).
John Anah was ordered to pay £175,000 and Tony O’Gonna £491,697 at a confiscation hearing at the Old Bailey. The Defendants had previously each been convicted of ten offences related to the supply of 33 unlicensed security guards. The Judge accepted that each of the Defendants had a “Criminal Lifestyle” as defined by POCA. After considering the detailed financial evidence provided by the London RART, the sums specified above were found by the Court to be the amounts available for confiscation.
The Defendants have until the 1 December 2015 to pay or face default custodial sentences of two years three months and three years six months respectively.
This result shows the benefit to the SIA, a regulatory prosecutor, of working with the RART. The RART is a multi-agency unit, comprising staff from the Metropolitan Police Service, Asset Recovery Agency, London City Police and Customs and Revenue. They were set up to deal with the seizure of criminal assets on a national basis under POCA. The RART have investigation powers under POCA and were therefore able to gain information that would not have otherwise been available to the SIA. This information proved invaluable in depriving the Defendants in this case of the financial benefit they had obtained through their criminal behaviour.
The Home Office has recognised the difficulties faced by private and regulatory prosecutors who do not have the full investigation powers under POCA at their disposal. It has recently launched a consultation on whether additional bodies should be granted access to these powers.