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22 June 2011, 11:52 | Updated: 22 June 2011, 12:21
Hampshire Police took nearly £2 million in proceeds of crime away from criminals across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight last year.
Using the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) obtained 98 confiscation orders between April, 1 2010 and March, 31 2011.The value of these orders came to £1,918,281.61, more than three times the value of confiscation orders in the previous year.
One operation for the FIU saw the confiscation of proceeds of crime totalling more than £700,000 from a family-run organised crime group in Southampton. The subjects of this operation were trafficking large amounts of drugs across the city.
The unit also confiscated assets worth over £300,000 from Moustafa Sallam, 65, Ventnor, Isle of Wight. Sallam is currently in prison serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for attempting to steal £2.5 million from insurance companies using a false identity to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards and take out mortgages.
As well as achieving confiscation orders, the unit has also secured cash forfeiture orders of more than £480,000; totalling over £2.5 million taken out of the criminal economy across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
By the end of May this year the unit had already confiscated £200,189.55 from criminals across the two counties.
Detective Inspector Dave Brown for Hampshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Group said: “Financial investigation is an excellent tool in helping to reduce the harm that criminals in the community can cause and bring those that have profited from criminal activity to account for their actions.
“Through the POCA legislation, the force can not only convict individuals for their crimes but it can also ensure that once convicted the criminals won’t be able to benefit from their criminal activity at a later date.
"The impact these criminals have on the community is huge and we want to ensure that they can’t return and show off their ill-gotten gains.”