Fake or fortune? Proceeds of crime and divorce

A man from Hertfordshire is facing prosecution for faking a National Lottery ticket in order to claim a £2.5 million windfall, according to reports in the national press this month. Edward Putman from Kings Langley has been charged with fraud by false representation and will appear in court next month.

If he is convicted, Mr Putman could be ordered to repay the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by way of a confiscation order. In determining the recoverable amount, the court will look both at a defendant’s benefit from his offending and the available amount. The order will be made for the lesser of those two values.

Confiscation orders can arise in the context of divorce proceedings. The family court will carry out a balancing exercise between the public interest in the confiscation order being satisfied and the interests of the other spouse (usually the wife), often claiming both on her own behalf and for the benefit of any children of the family. Each case will turn on its own facts. The more closely a wife can align the assets she seeks to her needs, the more likely she is to succeed in retaining a share of those assets.

This is a complex area of family law and it is crucial to take specialist advice. If you would like to speak to one of our family law specialists about the issues raised above or other family matters please contact us.

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