(ii) Obtaining a Benefit
A defendant will be considered to have benefited from his or her criminal conduct if the defendant ‘obtains property as a result of or in connection with the conduct’. Whilst property will be obtained where the defendant owns it, obtaining is interpreted more broadly and in a non-technical way in this context,95 primarily because criminals do not usually obtain legal title to property obtained through crime. Rather, the essence of obtaining property for these purposes is that the defendant has assumed the rights of the owner of the property, and will be satisfied where the defendant has possession of the property or directs what should happen to it. Joint defendants can acquire possession in common of property, such that they all ‘obtain’ the whole of the property, 6 although this will require careful consideration of the facts, turning on the respective roles of the defendants in the crime. Where a benefit has been obtained by a company of which the defendant was the sole controller, who used the company to conceal the benefit, the corporate veil may be pierced so that the benefit will be treated as the defendant’s.