I remember back in 2005 when the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act came in. We wiped off our quill pens, trimmed the wicks in the lamps and set to work looking at the implications. And one of my very favourite bits of the legislation – an Act of which I am mightily fond – is the Financial Reporting Order (FRO). This marvellous legislative weapon requires a convicted criminal to report his financial details at regular intervals, and can be made for up to twenty years for those sentenced to life or up to fifteen years for other sentences. You can see why I love it: it’s irritating, it’s long-lasting, it’s intrusive in a financial sense, and if the subject does not comply, he goes back to jail without passing Go.
And this is what has happened to well-known London criminal Terence George Adams. He was sentenced to seven years in 2007 for a single specimen money laundering offence, and was released on 24 June 2010. According to the “Daily Mail”, known for its balance in these matters, he then “splashed £7,500 on a Harley Street facelift, up to £7,000 on dental work and £2,000 on gym membership at a luxury hotel [and] his wife Ruth even gave him back a prized £2,200 gold Cartier watch she bought at a police auction of his confiscated possessions”. The mistake that the newly smooth and toothsome Terry made was not to report his spending spree under the terms of his ten-year FRO, which does not expire until 2017 and requires him to declare to SOCA declare anything he owns or purchases that is worth more than £500. Tee hee!
On 25 November 2011, Terry admitted four breaches of his FRO and was sent back to prison for eight weeks. He could also be required to serve the remaining two years of his original sentence as his actions breached the terms of his release licence. Moreover, he has paid less than half of the £750,000 of criminal assets he was ordered to hand over on his conviction. District Judge Quentin Purdy told Adams: “It seems to me you are a shrewd and calculating individual, quite clearly determined not to pay this money as you should.” You don’t say. But it seems that his wife has an explanation for his non-disclosure under the FRO: “Terry is severely dyslexic. He did not fill out the forms, a solicitor did it for him.” It’s always either the butler or the lawyer.