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Mark Heywood QC - Criminal Fraud & Proceeds of Crime


Queen’s Counsel 2012

Prior to taking silk, Attorney General’s “A” List. Grade 4 prosecutor on CPS Fraud and Organised Crime lists.
Extensive experience of acting for and against various Government Departments including;
•    Crown Prosecution Service Central Fraud Groups, Special Crime Division and Regional Complex Casework Units 
•    H.M. Revenue & Customs.
•    Department of Trade & Industry/Department of Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform/Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
•    Department of Work & Pensions.
Experience in Relevant Evidential Issues
•    Covert Investigations, Intrusive techniques under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
•    Intercept evidence
•    Evidence from foreign jurisdictions and Letters of Request

Operation Ply, Operation Destiny:

12-defendant, multi-million pound commercial mortgage fraud, together with conspiracy to pervert justice by coercing a false defence witness. The defendants used a web of companies and LLPs to acquire a portfolio of commercial properties, then arranged for fraudulent valuations, prospectuses etc. to secure higher valuations which were then presented to banks to secure loans far above the true value of the security.

On-going confiscation investigation

Operation Foamy

£2.5 million “Boiler Room” investment fraud and money laundering case, instigated by the Financial Services Authority and West Midlands Police Economic Crime Unit; part of a series of linked share sale frauds in the UK, Spain and the USA which were the subject of a long-running media campaign between BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox programme and a national newspaper.

Operation Fraxwood

Cheating the Queen and Public Revenue. Concealment of true level of trading by successful clothing business, with the complicity of the company’s accountant, resulting in multi-million pound losses of income and value added taxes.

Operation Acumen

Fraud and misconduct in public office; The defendants defrauded the marketing department of West Midlands Police by a series of anti-competitive frauds including corrupting tendering processes for placing contracts.

R v Lee & Others

Corruption, theft and export of military hardware; fraudulent award of supply contracts.

Case involved the corrupt relationship between the logistics manager of the Army Base Repair Organisation and a friend involved in the trade of military spars and refurbished equipment.

Vast amounts of military spares including tank track, gearboxes and other hardware was diverted by fraudulent manipulation of the store management systems and privately put up for sale through an independent arms company. Other valuable material was wrongly designated as scrap and sold to a front company actually run by the defendants.

Operation Raiment 5

Cheating the Commissioners of Revenue, Fraud and entering into money laundering arrangements.

The arrangements to realise the proceeds of a £26m tax fraud (Operation Digits) through a series of connected businesses and property purchases. Further allegations of fraudulently obtained mortgages, breaches of restraint orders and perverting of the course of justice.

Next stage due to be tried in May 2014.

R v Al-Haq & others

Land Title and Bullion Fraud

The defendants used fraudulent or forged documents to create fictitious identities. These identities were then used to pose as genuine purchasers of a series of hoses put on the market by their owners in the general course of moving house.

Unknown to the vendors, the fraudsters had infiltrated the Land Registry and used the information gathered to this point to fraudulently amend the title records so that each property appeared to have been gifted by deed to one of the false identities.

Using that “title”, bridging loans were raised from third party lenders, using the title as collateral. Over £1.2million of this money was laundered through the purchase of gold bullion and shipped, it was believed, abroad.

Subsequent asset tracing and confiscation proceedings.

R v Sheehy

Conspiracy to Defraud

Senior manager of Murphy & Son Construction accused of demanding bribes from contractors to secure favourable placement of contracts and also diverting labour and materials from a national rail building programme to expand his own property development business.

R v Helley & Helley

Department of Trade and Industry prosecution.

Company formation and management offences – issues of Directors’ disqualification, the use of prohibited names establishing what were, in effect, “Phoenix” companies.

Arguments on abuse of process relating to the defendant’s claims to have been induced by DTI officials in earlier civil proceedings before the Official Receiver to give undertakings concerning disqualifications which they had relied upon to their prejudice when the DTI launched criminal proceedings.

R v Haycock, Palmer & Turner:

Misconduct in public office, computer misuse. Serving police officer and criminal associates using information obtained from computerised crime reports and stolen police equipment for use in fraud.

Operation Tally

Organised crime group tracking lorries nationwide with surveillance equipment and hijacking them for the loads of valuable metals.

Operation Casper

Commercial supplies of heroin by organised crime group throughout Northwest and Midlands. Searches of properties revealed possession of large calibre weaponry.

Operation Shaston

Currently advising in a £12million value fraud on MoD by diversion of recycled military equipment for sale to Middle Eastern armed forces.

Re “The Rich Harvest” & “The Cornish Maiden”

A scheme to ship dutiable goods, acquired within the E.U. at lower rates of duty than those levied in the U.K, then to ship them to international waters just outside the British territorial limit. There, it was proposed to sell the goods to any United Kingdom residents who sailed out to meet them. H.M. Revenue and Customs had seized the stock and vessel when bad weather had forced it to enter port for repairs.

Their “customers” had left United Kingdom territorial waters but never entered another country’s. Advising on the following issues arising from allegations of evasion of duty:

  • The liability of European Community travellers to excise duties.
  • Implications of s170 Customs and Excise Management Act 1971 for those who sold, in international waters, goods on which duty had been paid in one community country, to United Kingdom nationals who did not declare such goods on return to U.K. territorial limits.
  • Lawfulness of H.M.R.C.’s seizure of the vessel and it’s stock
  • The criminal jurisdiction of domestic courts over such acts, and the effect of any ruling as a binding precedent.
  • Likelihood of challenging any domestic ruling of unlawfulness in Europe on the basis of incompatibility with community law and convention rights.



LLB (Hons)


Mark is a member of the Criminal Bar Association


"Mark Heywood QC is a very high-standard barrister, both on prosecution and defence."
Chambers UK, 2016



"He is extremely thorough and has the forensic skills to scrutinise the evidence in detail."
Chambers UK 2015

Mark Heywood QC has an extensive practice in serious crime. He is well regarded particularly for the work that he does within the area of fraud.
Chambers UK 2014

Mark Heywood QC has recently been made up to silk. Solicitors "would instruct him without hesitation." His recent work has included acting for the Complex Casework Unit on a conspiracy to defraud under Operation Acumen and a case in the Operation Chalice child sex ring prosecutions.
Chambers UK 2013

Mark Heywood is an 'experienced leading junior barrister in complex defence work' 
Legal 500 2009