Buy now and show proof -- or pay later

The Sydney Morning Herald | September 26, 2010
By Michael Duffy

MEMO to criminals and everyone else: keep those receipts. Last week the state's “unexplained wealth” law came into effect, to the outrage of civil libertarians and the horror of crooks and their accountants.

Until now the state could confiscate your assets only if it could prove they had been obtained criminally.

This led to horse-trading as authorities demanded a certain amount of assets and crooks agreed to hand over a proportion if there was no further action.

But now the onus of proof has been reversed and cops will be pouncing on real estate, cash, flash cars and bikes, jewellery, spa baths and anything else that catches their eye.

Where the old law could go back only six years, the new one covers assets obtained at any time. Police estimate it will recover $240 million over the next 10 years and half of that will be paid to the victims of crime.