A Hove accountant who was caught selling an extensive menu of illicit drugs has been ordered to pay £91,634.33 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Lorna Murray, 48, a self-employed accountant, admitted seven counts of possession of drugs with intent to supply following a raid on her Modena Road home in August 2012, which uncovered a haul of cocaine, MDMA, ketamine, diazepam and cannabis worth £5,800.
She was given a two-year suspended prison sentence in May 2013, but on Friday, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall at Lewes Crown Court made her the subject of a Confiscation Order, which states if she does not pay within three months she will serve a 12 months prison sentence – and will still be required to pay.
The confiscation proceedings began after her sentencing in 2013, and police financial investigators carried out an in-depth examination of her financial records and her assets.
After a two-day confiscation hearing at Lewes Crown Court on 30 March this year Judge Scott-Gall reserved his judgement until 10 July, when he declared that Murray’s benefit from her criminal lifestyle was £91,634.33 and that she had assets in property and cash to pay this amount. In addition she was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,000.
Detective Inspector Mick Richards said; “This Confiscation Order has been secured following detailed and exhaustive enquiries by one of our expert financial investigators.”
Funds seized by the courts through POCA confiscation orders go to the central Government exchequer.
However a proportion of this is returned to law enforcement. Sussex Police receive 18.75% of cash back from enforced confiscation orders.
POCA funding is distributed equally between the Police & Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable. The force currently employs an extra six Financial Investigators and two Financial Intelligence Officers from its part of these funds to continue the fight in seizing criminal assets, with the remainder being used to support crime reduction and diversion projects.