GMP’s Account Freezing Order team hits new milestone after successfully forfeiting over £5 million this tax year

GMP’s Account Freezing Order team hits new milestone after successfully forfeiting over £5 million this tax year

Following a successful forfeiture of £265,000 at Tameside Magistrates Court last month, the new Account Freezing Order Team have reached another milestone, forfeiting over £5 million in criminal funds this tax year.

The Account Freezing Order team part of GMP’s Economic and Cyber Crime Unit, was set up in September 2021 and specialises in identifying criminal funds in bank accounts.

The specialist operation named Nest-egg, created in 2022, is the dedicated response by the team to target the illicit use of bank accounts by organised criminals, money launderers and fraudsters across Greater Manchester.

Since April 2022, the team have frozen and then forfeited a total of £5,111,165.

The team successfully identify and investigate criminal bank accounts for example, an internationally based, suspected large scale drug smuggler used a large network of companies in the Greater Manchester Area to launder his criminal funds under the guise that they were providing various management consultancy services. Following a full and comprehensive investigation by officers from the Account Freezing Order Team, the guise was disproved and £1,399,388 of funds were recovered from criminal accounts.

Over 50% of the money seized and forfeited by our Economic Crime Unit is returned to GMP and then invested back into the community through the Asset Recovery and Incentivisation Scheme funding which funds projects that mean the most to people in Greater Manchester.

In addition to the £5 million forfeited from criminals, when victims can be identified, their money is returned directly, the team have recovered £2,302,962 which has been returned to victims since April 2022.

Detective Sergeant Ben Miller, who leads the Account Freezing Order Team, said: “We will continue our hard work to identify criminal bank accounts and freeze them, stripping criminals of their cash and reinvesting this money back into the community will always be our main priority.

“The investigations can often take months or even years to reach the point where we can forfeit criminal funds, it is important to showcase successes like this, to show the public that we are working hard behind the scenes.  We continue to ensure that Greater Manchester is not a safe haven for criminals by targeting their greatest asset – their finances.

It is fitting that the money forfeited will be utilised for a good cause – turning criminal proceeds into funding that is spent on community projects that mean the most to the public.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Joseph Harrop, the lead for Operation Nest-egg said: “To ensure we are the best-performing Economic Crime Unit in the country, we have increased funding for our asset recovery teams, restructured the unit to be more proactive, and more than doubled the size of our Cyber Crime Section.

“The Account Freezing Order Team, along with our Asset Detention and Recovery Unit, the Confiscation and Restraint Unit and The Money Laundering Team will continue to work together as a unit to hunt, recover and keep criminal assets in order for this to be reinvested into our community.

“Through hard work and dedication, we can reach the point in an investigation where we are able to forfeit funds, we continue to show criminals that crime does not pay in Greater Manchester.”

Anyone with concerns or information about suspicious financial activity, should report to police online, if able, at or via 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Keep up to date with the team’s successes and for more fraud prevention advice follow the Economic Crime Unit’s dedicated Twitter account -@gmpfraud.

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