On appeal from:  [2010] EWCA Crim 412

The appellant purchased a flat, paid for by a portion of his own money and a mortgage that he obtained on the basis of false statements about his employment record and earnings. The appellant redeemed the mortgage, and was later convicted of obtaining a money transfer by deception. He was served with a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in respect of the economic benefit he had obtained from the crime, which was calculated at 60% (which was the percentage of the flat’s initial value provided by the mortgage lender) of the flat’s market value.

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal against the order. The majority substituted an alternative confiscation order for 60% of the flat’s market value over its acquisition price, which was held to be the extent of the appellant’s benefit of his misrepresentations. In assessing whether a confiscation order is disproportionate it was noted that the aim of POCA is to remove the proceeds of crime from criminals, not constitute an extra punishment.

In dissenting on the calculation of the alternative order, Lord Phillips and Lord Reed found that the benefit the appellant obtained was merely the extent to which the terms of his mortgage were more generous due to his misrepresentations. Although that figure could be calculated, it would be just in the present instance to quash the order.

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