The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) provides a cohesive, regional response to organised crime, protecting communities in the South East of England.
In June 2013, SEROCU started investigating an organised crime group who were believed to be trafficking drugs. Surveillance revealed one of the group was also engaged in a significant money laundering operation involving over 200 bank accounts in 80 different names.
David Chave, an experienced Financial Investigator and the case officer, prepared the substantial number of bank accounts using Altia Solutions’ Investigation Toolkit in order to identify links and money movements between them, after identifying the 40 most significant accounts.
Investigation Toolkit created consistent and accurate Excel spreadsheets in a fraction of the time it would have taken to undertake the work manually. David was then able to confidently analyse the data to identify the flows of money between accounts and stated:
“If I didn’t have access to Investigation Toolkit, I would have had to ask for temporary work assistance in the form of agency staff to manually transfer the data onto Excel spreadsheets. There is no way that I could have done that myself in addition to preparing the court file, so Investigation Toolkit made the investigation
so much more manageable.”
Pivot tables and colour coding of the spreadsheet data to identify the movements between accounts allowed David to present the financial evidence. “I didn’t have access to Altia Solutions’ Financial Analysis Toolbar functionality at that time to represent these things as well as I could have”. Financial Analysis Toolbar allows presentation of the analysis results in graphical and tabular formats.
Insight, Altia’s Investigation Management System, was also used to register the documents retrieved at the properties. Insight allowed David to link the documents together and, using the accounts section, to link each statement to a bank account. This made managing this complex investigation more efficient.
The investigation revealed that the accused had laundered around £2 million. Unfortunately most had already been transferred to Russia and Ukraine. However, it was possible to confiscate over £60,000 in cash that had been seized when search warrants were executed. He subsequently received 7.5 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the charges, primarily due to the strength of the financial evidence against him.
David added that:
“…time was critical as he had been remanded in custody and therefore we were up against custody time limits to prepare the case.”
David was able to save significant amounts of time through the use of Investigation Toolkit and registering the vital documentary evidence within Insight. Months of manual data entry of bank information and the need for additional people to assist in the processing of the financial information was reduced to 2 weeks and no need for additional resource. Significant additional time could have been saved had he had access to the Financial Analysis Toolbar and using its tools such as ‘Merge Accounts’, ‘Pattern Manager’ and ‘Transaction Matcher’ to analyse the data and for presentation of the financial evidence.