At Furstenberg Law, we have particular expertise in confiscation law, conducting litigation under the Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic) and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth).
Avi is a confiscation lawyer who has represented a large number of clients over many years and regularly appears in Confiscation Lists of the County Court and the Supreme Court. As well as having a thorough understanding of the legislative schemes, Avi’s experience enables him to provide, timely, reliable and expert advice concerning prospects in respect of a multitude of applications that may be made, including:
- exclusion order applications;
- compensation order applications;
- forfeiture order applications;
- pecuniary penalty order applications; and
- applications to vary restraining orders to meet reasonable living and business expenses.
Avi’s extensive experience as a confiscation lawyer has enabled him over many years to maximize clients’ asset retention.
How Confiscation regimes operate
Usually, the first step in the litigation process involves the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police obtaining a restraining order over property.
The ultimate purpose of every restraining order is to see the restrained property forfeited to the Government. Property can be forfeited even where no person is ever charged or convicted. Every year, millions of dollars of property is forfeited to the Government under proceeds of crime laws. It is critical that a person whose property has been restrained immediately contacts a confiscation lawyer to be able to take prompt steps to protect their interest in property from forfeiture.
Often, third parties who have had no involvement in any criminal activity become entangled in Confiscation proceedings because of joint ownership of assets. For example, a family home jointly owned by a husband and wife may be restrained as a result of allegations of offending by one of the parties.
In criminal proceeding, the prosecution must prove an accused guilty. However, once property is restrained, the owner of such property must generally prove that the property was not used in connection with unlawful activity or derived from it. That can often be a difficult test to satisfy. Because of that difficulty, it is of the utmost importance that care is taken in the preparation of all evidence. Confiscation lawyers can advise of the evidence that will be required to seek to have restrained property released in each particular case.
Importantly, because of the strict time limits for filing applications, it is vital that steps are taken promptly and before property automatically forfeits to the Government.