Wednesday 3 June, 2020

$70 million in cash forfeited so far this year; more than for 2017

In less than eight months of the year, local authorities say they have made several cash forfeiture orders that have resulted in the seizure of more than $70 million in ill-gotten gains.

Althea Whyte, Acting Director of Legal Services and the Asset Management Unit of the Financial Investigations Division (FID), said the seizures have surpassed those made for the entire year in 2017.

“In 2017, there were 34 cash forfeiture orders totaling $57.1 million,” said Whyte.

She was making a presentation on the Investigative and asset recovery tools under the FID Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act, at the Forensic Evidence Seminar on Saturday in St Ann.

Parts of her presentation was posted on the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) official Twitter page.

Whyte said in 2016 there were 14 cash forfeiture orders totaling $76.7 million.

She did not give a figure for the number of forfeiture orders made this year, but said, “So far this year there has been several cash forfeiture orders amounting to over $70 million."

Local authorities have explained that using asset recovery tools such as the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), authorities are provided with the power of seizure, detention and forfeiture of cash.

Detained or seized cash can be forfeited for a number of reasons, such as investigations having found that it was intended by any person for use in unlawful conduct; or enquiries show that there is an illegitimate origin of the cash seized; where the cash or part of it is recoverable property; where criminal proceedings have concluded, resulting in conviction of the defendant; where a defendant is acquitted, but the officer still believes there is a possibility to demonstrate the civil standard on the balance of probabilities that the cash or part of the cash was likely to be the proceed of crime or was intended for use in criminal activity.

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