Friday, 14 January 2011

Lancaster drug dealer ordered to pay £44,000

Francis Hackett, a convicted drug dealer has been ordered to pay £44,005 under a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order.
Hackett, 48, of Albion Street, Lancaster, was convicted of possession with intent to supply heroin and money laundering in May last year. He was jailed for three years as a result.

Following a raid at his home address in October 2008, officers found wraps of heroin stuffed into a cavity wall in the back yard. A small amount of money was found and a financial investigation into Hackett began.

“It became apparent that Hackett had been on benefits and was not declaring any income," explains financial investigator Anna Willetts, of Lancashire Constabulary's northern division. But that he had laundered more than £40,000 through his various bank accounts – a figure that was way beyond his income.”

At a POCA hearing at Preston Crown Court today the judge deemed that the benefit of Hackett’s criminality was £44,005. This was matched by money in his bank account, cash recovered by the police, and the value of his home.

He has six months to arrange to payment of the equity from his house otherwise he will face a further 12 months imprisonment.

“One of the important things about confiscation orders is that if the offender doesn’t pay the amount prescribed by the court within a given timescale then a prison sentence is imposed in default," Anna Willetts added, "and the offender still owes the money together with the interest when they get out. In other words they can’t trade off the debt by going to prison.

“It’s just not right that decent law abiding people have to tolerate criminals enjoying a standard of living that they are not entitled to. More often than not that lifestyle has been achieved at someone else’s expense. The public want to know that in addition to any punishment handed out by the court that, whenever possible, offenders are going to be deprived of any profit that they have made from their criminal activities.”

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