A court ordered the forfeiture of over £110,000 after a Gravesend couple were unable to demonstrate how they legally obtained it.

On 17 December 2020, Kent Police officers searched a property in the town and found two vacuum-packed bags of cash in the kitchen cupboard.

Lee Martin, 35, and his wife Hayley, 42, claimed the money was left by a relative shortly before they died in 2020 and that they planned to distribute the money to family members at Christmas.

An in-depth investigation and financial analysis of bank accounts and HMRC income records revealed that it was unlikely the relative would have amassed such a large sum, and a sample of the cash also showed that three bank notes had been issued by the Bank of England after their death.

Proceeds of Crime

Financial investigators from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate applied for the money to be confiscated using legislation available under the Proceeds of Crime Act because Mr and Mrs Martin were unable to demonstrate it had been earned through legitimate means.

A hearing took place at Margate Magistrates’ Court on the 2 December 2022, whereby the court ordered the forfeiture of £111,040 plus accrued interest.

Detective Inspector Dave Godfrey of Kent Police’s Economic Crime Unit said: ‘While Mr and Mrs Martin were never charged with any criminal offences in relation to this incident, they were unable to provide a verifiable explanation as to where the money came from. The Proceeds of Crime Act enables our financial investigators to ensure any money potentially acquired through criminal means is not used to fund further unlawful activity.’

By Ed

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