Auction houses provide a unique opportunity for individuals to purchase assets confiscated as proceeds of crime. These auctions offer a chance to acquire valuable items, ranging from luxury cars and jewelry to real estate and high-end electronics. This article aims to guide potential buyers on how to navigate the process of purchasing proceeds of crime assets at auction.

  1. Understanding Proceeds of Crime Auctions: Proceeds of crime auctions are organized by government agencies or authorized auction houses. These assets are typically seized from individuals involved in criminal activities, and the proceeds from their sale are used to compensate victims or fund law enforcement efforts. These auctions are governed by specific regulations and procedures, ensuring a transparent and lawful sale process.
  2. Research and Identify Auctions: To participate in proceeds of crime auctions, start by researching and identifying reputable auction houses or government agencies that conduct such auctions. Online searches, local law enforcement agencies, and official government websites are good starting points. These sources can provide information about upcoming auctions, including the assets available for bidding.
  3. Review Auction Guidelines and Requirements: Each auction may have specific guidelines and requirements for participation. It’s crucial to carefully review these guidelines to understand the registration process, deposit requirements, bidding rules, and any restrictions that may apply. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions to ensure compliance and a smooth auction experience.
  4. Register as a Bidder: To participate in a proceeds of crime auction, you typically need to register as a bidder. This process may involve providing personal identification, completing registration forms, and potentially paying a registration fee or deposit. The auction house or government agency will verify your information before granting bidding privileges.
  5. Conduct Due Diligence: Before placing any bids, conduct thorough due diligence on the assets you are interested in. The auction catalog or listing should provide information about each item, including descriptions, photographs, and any available appraisals. Research the market value, condition, and history of similar assets to make informed decisions and set bidding limits.
  6. Attend Pre-Auction Viewings: Auction houses often organize pre-auction viewings where potential buyers can physically inspect the assets. Take advantage of these viewings to assess the condition, authenticity, and overall appeal of the items you wish to bid on. If attending in person is not possible, inquire about additional photographs or detailed condition reports.
  7. Set a Budget and Stick to It: Establishing a budget is essential to prevent overspending during the auction. Determine your maximum bid for each asset based on its value, condition, and your own financial capabilities. It’s crucial to exercise discipline and avoid getting caught up in the excitement of the bidding process, as this can lead to impulsive and potentially regretful purchases.
  8. Participate in the Auction: When the auction begins, follow the bidding process outlined by the auctioneer or auction platform. Maintain focus and be prepared to bid competitively if there is significant interest in a particular asset. Online auctions may require active monitoring and timely bidding, while live auctions may involve raising your paddle or signaling your bids clearly.
  9. Be Aware of Additional Costs: Keep in mind that buying proceeds of crime assets at auction involves additional costs beyond the winning bid. Buyers are often responsible for buyer’s premiums, which are a percentage of the winning bid added to the final purchase price. Additionally, taxes, transfer fees, or shipping expenses may apply depending on the jurisdiction and the type of asset purchased.
  10. Complete the Purchase and Transfer of Ownership: Once the auction concludes, successful bidders must complete the necessary paperwork and financial transactions to finalize the purchase. This typically includes signing a contract, providing payment, and arranging for the transfer of ownership. Follow the instructions provided by the auction house or government agency to ensure a smooth transition of the acquired assets.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act goods of criminals are seized and sold to raise funds

This is usually carried out by authorised auction houses within geographical areas of the criminals. The auction of such property is proof that the extensive powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act work in taking the profit out of crime.

The net proceeds  after existing liabilities are met, will be recycled into the fight against crime.

People can no longer profit from crime and the publics concerns are being acted upon. There will be no hiding place for their ill-gotten gains. This is part of a continual stream of assets currently being taken out of the hands of criminals, sold and the proceeds used for the benefit of everyone in the community.

1. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 created the Assets Recovery Agency and provided completely new powers to allow ARA to seek civil recovery of the proceeds of unlawful activity by an action in the High Court. The Agency can also issue tax assessments where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there is taxable income, gain or profit from criminal conduct.

2. On 31 October 2007, the Serious Crime Bill received Royal Assent. The Act merged the operational elements of the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), and the training and accreditation functions with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). It will also extend to certain prosecutors the power to launch civil recovery action under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Until then ARA will continue to operate as before and use its powers to the full in proceeding to complete existing cases and adopt new cases for future action.

Conclusion: Buying proceeds of crime assets at auction can be an exciting and rewarding experience for individuals looking to acquire unique and valuable items. By conducting thorough research, understanding the auction process, and adhering to guidelines and regulations, potential buyers can navigate these auctions with confidence. Remember to exercise due diligence, set a budget, and approach the bidding process strategically to make informed purchasing decisions.

Auction details of these assets will be included in GAUK Auctions database and Newsletter.