Northumberland man ordered to payback six figure sum
Dated: 21 Sep 2010
A Northumberland man has been ordered to pay back more than £350,000 of his ill-gotten gains following an investigation by the Economic Crime Unit.
Andrew Lawson, formerly of Dale View, Stocksfield, Hexham was arrested on 6th October 2009 for fraud by false representation and theft offences. In May 2010 he was convicted of five offences of fraud and eight offences of theft.
A Confiscation Order was made at Newcastle Crown Court on September 16, 2010 against Lawson. The order was successful and he was ordered to pay back £350,053.75p in total.
The arrest followed a money laundering investigation conducted by officers and detectives identified a series of credit agreements to obtain car finance which had been made by fraudulent means. Officers discovered that Lawson made a substantial benefit from this continued criminal activity, ultimately seeing him being declared bankrupt.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, police can seize any cash or goods if they're believed to be criminal property or being used to commit crime.
DC Brian Orkney said: "The order imposed by the court represents the total benefit of Lawson's criminal activity. Lawson is currently serving a two-year custodial sentence, the amount of the order imposed is a debt which ultimately will still have to be paid.
"It's an excellent result for both the police and the law abiding community, it serves as a warning to any other criminals that crime does not pay.
"When criminals are convicted they may not only sacrifice their freedom but they can also lose the cash and ill-gotten gains they've gathered through criminal activities.
"Northumbria Police does not tolerate those who live their lives on the back of crime. We will continue to target criminals who live extravagant lifestyles without any obvious legal source of income."
Notes to editors
There are two ways we can take money off people under Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
1 FORFEITURE - We can seize cash if we can satisfy magistrates in court that it is of a criminal origin.
2 CONFISCATION - This is a specific legal process that comes after a conviction. It takes place at Crown Court in response to an application by police following a conviction.
The application varies depending on the nature of the offence.
We can confiscate assets if we can prove a criminal lifestyle.
We don't necessarily physically take anything, we produce a statement to court in a POCA hearing post conviction