Explaining attrition: Investigating and confiscating the profits of organized crime

E.W. Kruisbergen, E.R. Kleemans, R.F. Kouwenberg

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In this article, we provide insight into a common but scarcely researched problem in the process of confiscating criminal earnings: attrition, that is, the gap between estimated criminal profits on the one hand and the actually recovered amount of money on the other. We investigate the practice and results of financial investigation and asset recovery in organized crime cases in the Netherlands by using empirical data from the Dutch Organized Crime Monitor, confiscation order court files, and the Central Fine Collection Agency. The data shed light on financial investigation in practice and give a complete picture of the confiscation order court procedures as well as the execution of those orders for 102 convicted offenders – from public prosecutors’ claims and rulings of the initial, appeal and the Supreme Court, to what offenders actually pay. The phenomenon of attrition can be explained by several factors, but an important factor turns out to be how ‘criminal profit’ is defined (determined) in law and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-695
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
Issue number6
Early online date24 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


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