Criminals in the West Midlands forced to pay back £6.3million

31/05/2012

The West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) collected £6,376,721 from criminals in the region from proceeds of crime enforcement in 2011-2012, an increase of 14 percent on the year before.

A breakdown of figures across the four areas which makes up the prosecution region shows that in the last financial year, the West Midlands CPS recovered the following amounts from criminals: 

  • Staffordshire -    £1,358,638.05
  • Warwickshire -  £531,067.55
  • West Mercia -    £1,313,670.11
  • West Midlands - £3,173,345.42

This year's performance figures are the best on record in terms of money collected.

Adrian Phillips, Head of the West Midlands CPS Proceeds of Crime Unit said:

"Our mission is to deprive defendants of the profit that they make from crime, and by doing so we are sending out a clear message to criminals that crime will not pay in the West Midlands. 

"Despite the economic climate and drop in house prices, we have exceeded our target by recovering over £800,000 more than last year, with the total amount of monies taken from criminals in the region exceeding £6million.

"Even if it takes us years to recover the money due, we will continue to work with our criminal justice partners to use the powers given to us to reduce crime, disrupt criminal enterprises and confiscate property and monies obtained through crime.

"Many criminals think that they can delay the inevitable process of paying us what is due, however, what they must realise is that we will add an interest of eight percent on any balance outstanding, so delaying the payment only means they will owe us more.

"The money we recover is used to compensate victims, or is paid to the Government to fight crime. To that effect we are committed to working with the court's Regional Confiscation Unit and local police forces to use every tool at our disposal such as enforcement receivers, default sentences, distress warrants and restraint orders which are used to preserve assets in the UK and abroad, in order to hit criminals in their pockets and force them to payback their ill gotten gains."

 Cases of Note:

  • On 27 February 2012, after three adjourned hearings and following a contested application, a Receivership Order was granted at Wolverhampton Crown Court.  Enforcement Receivers have been appointed to release the assets of Carl Pritchett, former owner of 'Cuddles' massage parlour, Hagley Road, Birmingham. Pritchett had funded a lavish lifestyle, acquiring properties abroad and sports cars, by exploiting women from 10 different countries. In 2009 a Confiscation Order for £2,000,000.00 was made against Pritchett which remains unpaid.  As a result he received a further term of imprisonment when the default sentence of six years 325 days was activated at the Enforcement Court on 16 July 2010. Enforcement Receivers have taken possession of the former 'Cuddles' premises, which had been re-let and was trading as 'Bunnys' massage parlour, and closed it down. The Hagley Road property is now being marketed and a sale is imminent.  Other properties belonging to Pritchett are also being sold by the receivers to pay towards the Confiscation Order.
  • Michael Browne from Canley, Coventry, who amassed millions of pounds in a mortgage scam, had a Confiscation Order made against him at Birmingham Crown Court on 18th January 2012. The 50-year-old built a property portfolio across the city on the back of false mortgage applications and even bought a Spanish villa, which he renamed Casa de Miguel Browne. Browne's home was raided in 2008 by West Midlands Police officers investigating financial irregularities emerging from a major drugs bust. Browne was jailed for three years and sentenced to a further 12 months last March for perverting the course of justice after continuing to deal with his assets while in prison. His assets will remain restrained until the Confiscation Order is satisfied.  An offer for the Spanish property is currently under consideration.
  • John Doherty, who was jailed in 2009 after terrorising residents of a Worcestershire mobile home park, has had almost £750,000 worth of assets stripped from him to compensate his victims. Doherty and his brother admitted arson, fraud and blackmail involving residents of The Glen in Blackwell, Bromsgrove after running their campaign of arson, threats and intimidation in Bromsgrove during the spring of 2007. John Doherty also defrauded people buying homes at a site he owned in Coventry. Most of the money paid out by Doherty was recovered from the sales of The Glen and the site in Harvest Hill, Coventry, with victims receiving over 90% of their original claim following a successful application for uplift to the original Confiscation Order and new Compensation Orders (a legal first). Almost £450,000 has gone to the 19 parties affected in Bromsgrove with over £300,000 split between four victims in Coventry.
  • Roger Quintyne used cash from his criminal activities to buy a house in Barbados, top of the range sports cars and to develop a property empire that included homes across Wolverhampton. Enquiries into Quintyne's dealings started in 2005 after he was stopped by police, who discovered more than £20,000 in the boot of his Aston Martin. The result of a seven year investigation led to a £500,000 Confiscation Order being made at Birmingham Crown Court on 6 February 2012. To date almost £57,000 has been recovered but Quintyne will be forced into selling the proceeds of his criminal activities which include the house in Barbados, a property in Coven Heath, and an Aston Martin Vantage to pay his outstanding Confiscation Order.
  • A £406,000 confiscation order was made against Stafford fraudster Paul Cope who ran multiple businesses and was jailed for five years and four months for his leading role in a £25 million fraud