Targeting and combating fraud is high on the agenda for local authorities. Local authorities are being encouraged to use the powers under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to target fraudsters who have been enriched through their criminal conducts.

Under the Home Office’s POCA incentive scheme, local authorities who have an accredited financial investigator could recover up to two-third of the 50% confiscated assets. This would enable local authorities to reinvest the proceeds back into local public services. It was reported that in 2007/08, £135.7m were recovered from criminals using the POCA.

In our continuing work with Croydon Council and since the landmark POCA case, the Crown Court at Croydon are seeing more confiscation proceedings brought by Croydon Council. In one ongoing confiscation case, Croydon accredited financial investigation had revealed a husband and wife who defrauded the Council in housing and council tax benefits had benefited from their general criminal conducts in the total sum of £4,493,113.10 and £525,791.29 respectively. Their combined available assets have been assessed to be in the region of £1.5m