Greater Manchester Police seize more than £15m in ill-gotten gains from crooks

Greater Manchester Police have seized, confiscated and forfeited a total of £15,751,210 in criminal finances in the space of a year.
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Just short of £3m has been obtained as a result of Confiscation Orders obtained after a criminal conviction; whilst around £14m has been forfeited under Civil Recovery legislation, which does not rely on a criminal conviction being obtained.

Cash and listed assets worth approximately £4m have been forfeited in the last year along with bank balances totalling £8.7m.

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Just some of the assets confiscated by policeJust some of the assets confiscated by police
Just some of the assets confiscated by police
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GMP’s Economic and Cyber Crime Unit have increased the size of the asset recovery teams and brought in a dedicated money laundering unit, who work together with partner agencies to recover ill-gotten gains from organised crime groups and prosecute those involved.

Operation Falcon launched in June 2022, aims to identify those involved in money laundering in a bid to disrupt wider organised crime in Greater Manchester.

In addition to the £15m recovered under Proceeds of Crime Act legislation, a further £2,657,211 has been recovered from bank accounts and returned directly to victims of crime.

The money is made up from:

Det Sgt Sarah LangleyDet Sgt Sarah Langley
Det Sgt Sarah Langley

Over £8.5m from the Account Freezing Order Team (AFO), by conducting civil investigations the team freeze suspected criminal funds in bank accounts and these are then forfeited at court.

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Some £4m from the Asset Detention and Recovery Unit (ADRU) who won the Annual Chief's Award for Team of the Year in 2021, they deal with the seizures of cash and listed assets by conducting civil investigations following seizures of cash and assets by other teams in the Economic Crime Unit– with a view to forfeiting seized cash and assets which is then invested back into the community.

Nearly £3m from the Confiscation and Restrain Unit – this is made up of financial investigators who restrain assets such as houses and then seek confiscation orders after criminal conviction.

The Money Laundering Team conduct proactive and reactive investigations: following arrests, the money makes its way to the ADRU and AFO teams to secure the illicit finances through convictions in court.

An expensive Rolex watch was among criminal assets seized by policeAn expensive Rolex watch was among criminal assets seized by police
An expensive Rolex watch was among criminal assets seized by police

In January Operation Falcon, launched by GMP’s Money Laundering Team, soared as three men were arrested and £15,000 seized in Bury and Radcliffe.

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As part of the national Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS) some of the funds recovered will be returned to Greater Manchester Police to be utilised in furthering asset recovery work or funding community initiatives.

In 2022-2023, a total of over £5.1m will be returned to GMP under the scheme operated by the Home Office.

To put this figure into context, the average ARIS returns each year for the years between 2012 to 2020 was just over £1.9m given back to communities across GMP to benefit local initiatives that fight and prevent crime.

Det Supt Joe Harrop, leading GMP’s Economic Crime Unit, said: "This figure represents our most successful year to date in terms of asset recovery and is a credit to all those who have worked really hard to successfully seize, confiscate, recover and forfeit these criminal finances.

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"Their work has helped to reduce the amount of violent crime on Greater Manchester’s streets as often these finances are funding serious and organised crime.

"We will continue to work diligently to remove criminal proceeds from the hands of those who seek to profit from criminality. Asset recovery legislation allows us to disrupt criminal enterprises, deter people from becoming involved in crime and recompense victims and communities blighted by criminality.

"A lot of our work is conducted in the background but please be assured that tackling economic crime is a lengthy task and we are working hard behind the scenes relentlessly to ensure that those involved in criminal behaviour are brought to justice and pay the price for their crimes.

“If you see, or suspect something is wrong, tell us, and we can sort it."

Anyone with concerns or information about suspicious financial activity, should report to police online, if able, at www.gmp.police.uk or via 101.

Details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

For fraud prevention advice and to keep up to date with the Economic Crime Unit’s latest news - follow @gmpfraud on Twitter.