A serial fraudster who was sentenced to four years behind bars, has been ordered to pay back £315,000.

Malcolm Forsyth created false identities to obtain mortgage deals, open bank accounts and even claim benefits. He was ordered to pay back all of his available assets after a lengthy investigation uncovered money he had been hiding.

Police say Forsyth had tried to obstruct their investigation into his assets by telling lies. Despite this, specialist investigators found he had conned £465,554 from his criminal activities and had available assets of £315,000.

Head of West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit and Recovery Team, Ramona Senior said: “At every stage Forsyth has tried to hamper our enquiries, but thanks to the thorough investigation carried out by the team we have been able to unpick his lies and ensure that he is made to pay for his crimes.”

Forsyth was convicted in 2017 for 15 counts of fraud dating back as far as 1985. He was sentenced to four years in prison and at a Proceeds of Crime hearing this week was ordered to pay back £315,000 within 6 months, or face a further four years behind bars.

Specialist officers were able to identify 2 properties, which were both owned under false identities. Forsyth claimed one of the properties belonged to his uncle, however the court dismissed this claim due to a mountain of evidence demonstrating otherwise.

Police say an amount of the money recovered will go back into the community, and will be spent on non for profit organisations for various community projects across West Yorkshire.

What is the Proceeds Of Crime Act?

Proceeds of Crime is the term given to money or assets gained by criminals during the course of their criminal activity. The authorities have to power to confiscate these assets so that criminals do not benefit from their criminal activity.

POCA remains an effective piece of legislation, but the sums confiscated are small when compared with the scale and cost of serious and organised crime to the UK economy. POCA is under sustained legal challenge from criminals seeking to hide their assets.

If an individual is ordered to pay back a sum of money in legal proceedings and fails to do so within a set period of time, they face further time in jail. For example: If a criminal is ordered to pay back £10,000 or less and fails to do so, they will receive a sentence of 6 months. For more than £10,000, but no more than £500,000, they receive 5 years behind bars. More than £500,000 but no more than £1 Million, its 7 years imprisonment. Finally, in some rare cases where an individual is ordered to pay back more than £1 million and fail to hand over the money, they would be handed down a 14 year sentence.

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