Gang member stripped of assets
A Black Power gang leader has been stripped of cash and assets under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act after having a $240,000 profit forfeiture judgement made against him.
Eleven motor vehicles and more than $38,000 in cash were seized by Police between March 2010 and July 2011 from Tai Rewita, a patched Black Power member from Tauranga.
Those assets and the cash have now been forfeited to the Crown following a civil action under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.
Earlier this month a judgement against Rewita found that on the balance of probabilities, Rewita had unlawfully benefited from significant criminal activity involving the sale of methamphetamine.
Detective Inspector Tim Anderson, District Manager Criminal Investigations, Bay of Plenty Police, says the judgement is significant because it was made despite Rewita being acquitted on drug charges.
"He has subsequently been convicted on later drug charges, but the forfeiture order on his cars and cash was made before that conviction was handed down."
"This is why the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act is such a powerful tool," Mr Anderson said.
The Act allows for the proceeds of crime to be forfeited to the Crown based on the civil standard of proof (balance of probabilities) rather than being solely dependent on securing a criminal conviction.
The Waikato - Bay of Plenty Asset Recovery Unit had conducted a separate investigation into Rewita's financial activities and had been able to restrain cash and assets under the Act.
"This case illustrates how the legislation is significantly enhancing our ability to target the profits of gangs and organised criminals," he said.
Detective Superintendent Peter Devoy, National Manager Financial Crime says judgements such as this send a powerful message that crime does not pay.
"We don't want people like Rewita, a gang member who doesn't work, having visible and desirable assets such as these vehicles and wads of cash.
"The risk is that they are seen by the community as a person who is successful - they are not good role models for young people and we will ensure that those deriving ill gotten gains from crime will be held to account," Mr Devoy said.