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posted by takyon on Monday August 15 2016, @10:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-cyber-squeeze dept.

Private law firms will be hired by police to pursue criminal suspects for profit, under a radical new scheme to target cyber criminals and fraudsters.

In a pilot project by the City of London police, the lead force on fraud in England and Wales, officers will pass details of suspects and cases to law firms, which will use civil courts to seize the money.

The force says the scheme is a way of more effectively tackling fraud – which is now the biggest type of crime, estimated to cost £193bn a year. It is overwhelming police and the criminal justice system.

Under the shakeup being piloted, a law firm will pursue the suspect in the civil courts before any conviction and possibly even without a criminal charge. The burden of proof is lower in civil courts, and they will only have to show that the suspect stole the money on the balance of probabilities.

[...] Katie Wheatley, joint head of criminal law at Bindmans, a London law firm, expressed unease over the proposals, which she said gave police "what they would regard as an easy deterrent, without having the inconvenience of proving an offence to a criminal standard".

[...] A working group to oversee the experiment has been set up by the City of London police, officers from the National Crime Agency, and Metropolitan police, and law and private investigation firms.

Source: The Guardian

takyon: The City of London is a small county within Greater London, run by the City of London Corporation. It is well known for being a centre of evil finance.


Original Submission

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takyon: Do you want to give the City of London Police control of your DNS?


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @10:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @10:29PM (#388446)

    At first I read "The City of London is a small country..." That hasn't happened yet. [bullfax.com]

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by n1 on Monday August 15 2016, @10:44PM

      by n1 (993) on Monday August 15 2016, @10:44PM (#388452) Journal

      It's not a country, it's a bit more interesting than that.

      To regulate trade into the City, barriers were erected on the major entrance routes wherever the true boundary was a substantial distance from the nearest ancient gatehouse in the walls. [...] "The Temple Bar ceremony, which is still occasionally re-enacted at a monument to the Bar, involves the monarch stopping to request permission to enter the City and the Lord Mayor presenting the Sword of State as a sign of loyalty."

      Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

      Magna Carta states that "the City of London shall have/enjoy its ancient liberties" ... but there is no record of its first charter/formation, it's been around for too long...

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snotnose on Monday August 15 2016, @10:39PM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Monday August 15 2016, @10:39PM (#388449)

    Dunno about England/Scotland, but here in the US the burden of proof for a civil case is much lower than for a criminal case. I don't even think the state has to ensure the accused gets a lawyer if they can't afford one.

    So:

    1) Freeze bank accounts of the accused. They are, after all, ill-gotten gains and you don't want them going anywhere
    2) Sue in Civil court
    3) As accused either can't afford a lawyer at all, or gets a cheap/inexperienced one, they lose
    4) Seize bank accounts

    Sounds reasonable to me. Not.

    --
    When the dust settled America realized it was saved by a porn star.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by jelizondo on Monday August 15 2016, @11:46PM

      by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 15 2016, @11:46PM (#388480) Journal

      You are correct, under the Gideon v. Wainwright [wikipedia.org] States must provide a public defender to indigents in criminal cases but not in civil cases and indeed, the burden of proof is lower in civil cases than in criminal ones, so that in theory, it would work as advertised but, being a for profit business I think it can be abused.

      Actually, I believe it will be abused.

      Now, I'm not sure how the freezing of bank accounts or other assets proceeds in the U.K., but in the U.S. it would be hard, because you would have to show enough evidence of fraud or other damages, the high probability of winning the case on the evidence presented to the Court and the strong probablility that irreparable damage would be caused unless an injuction is granted. It is very hard in civil cases to get assets frozen in the U.S., criminal cases are different because of forfeiture laws.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16 2016, @10:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16 2016, @10:08AM (#388630)

        How long do you think before those laws change?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Whoever on Tuesday August 16 2016, @01:21AM

      by Whoever (4524) on Tuesday August 16 2016, @01:21AM (#388496) Journal

      Why bother with all those steps:
      1. Seize all money under civil forfeiture laws.
      2. There is no step 2.

      This puts the (now impoverished) person in the position of having to sue the government when the deck is stacked heavily in the government's favor, without money to employ a good lawyer.

      I suspect that the 5th amendment was written with the intent of stopping this type of legalized theft and that the authors of the bill of rights would be spinning in their graves if they knew what is happening now.

    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Tuesday August 16 2016, @01:25AM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Tuesday August 16 2016, @01:25AM (#388497)

      What gets me is those who are actually guilty of something have put their assets in their wife's name, or the kids, or some other entity that isn't them. Government freezes their assets they get the $4000 monthly spending. On the other hand, the poor schmuck who isn't guilty has all his assets in his name, he gets the shaft.

      --
      When the dust settled America realized it was saved by a porn star.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16 2016, @01:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16 2016, @01:50AM (#388502)

        At least this is an election year and we can vote for the candidate who will end this practice.

        • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday August 16 2016, @03:13AM

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday August 16 2016, @03:13AM (#388523)

          They've already had the election for London.

          This particular London is not in the US.

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Francis on Tuesday August 16 2016, @03:56AM

            by Francis (5544) on Tuesday August 16 2016, @03:56AM (#388539)

            Doesn't matter, neither Trump nor Clinton would have put a stop to it either. Might as well vote for a martian or one of the thousands of Daves that exist.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by patella.whack on Tuesday August 16 2016, @07:07AM

    by patella.whack (3848) on Tuesday August 16 2016, @07:07AM (#388596)

    From TFA:
    "One prominent criminal law firm was sceptical about the plans, expressing concern that a profit motive could damage the fairness of the process."