There was a time not long ago when the investigation and prosecution of crime ended with the arrest and charging of an accused with a crime. The case went to court, and if the person was found guilty the sentence was passed. That ended the matter. Now investigators “follow the money”. This means banking records are often gathered by the police. Safety deposit boxes are opened. Expensive cars and jewelry are seized. Real estate transactions are scrutinized.
Investigators have effective tools to look at paper trails, and Proceeds of Crime units are a common feature for most major police services. In Ontario, CRIA (Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities) is the agency created to seize funds thought to be associated with criminal activity. It is a challenging body of law and increasingly criminal accused will fight hard to rescue legitimate holdings from the grasping hands of the government.
I have successfully handled CRIA cases. I have been able to negotiate with prosecutors, both Provincial and Federal, in securing the return of millions of dollars of seized money, vehicles, jewellery and real property.
The Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act is Federal Legislation that is most commonly encountered when persons travel across the Canadian Border with undeclared cash money. Border guards typically seize money from unwary travellers who have neglected to declare cash or financial instruments in excess of $10,000 when leaving or entering Canada. This Draconian measure sends the traveller into a labyrinth of procedures which can take years and often yield no happy results. I have had a number of applications to get seized money returned, and the rate of return so far is 95%. Patience and careful preparation are the key in this area, as they are in so many areas of law.