A money launderer from Kettering who helped “clean up” millions of pounds of dirty cash is one of two men who have been jailed for a total of 12 years after an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation.
Bhader Singh, of Kettering and Richard Strauss, from Leeds, helped to launder £20 million in an attempt to hide its criminal origins, believed to be from the sale of illicit alcohol.
Singh, 35, set up a fake wholesale company and produced false invoices to disguise financial transactions as legitimate sales of alcohol in the bonds market between January 2011 and October 2012.
The money from the transactions was paid to alcohol distribution firm Anglotrade Beverages Ireland, run by 37-year-old Richard Strauss, and immediately transferred overseas from the business account.
David Margree, assistant director of criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “This sentencing brings to an end a three-year investigation, centered on a highly organised and complex fraud. Singh’s company was set up to create an illusion of legitimate trading when in fact their sole purpose was to clean up the dirty cash of criminal activity.
“Those involved knew they were breaking the law by providing a service for criminals to launder their cash in an attempt to hide their criminal profits and avoid detection by law enforcement.
“HMRC is investing more time and resources than ever into identifying fraud. Our work does not stop at sentencing, but at depriving those involved of the proceeds of their crimes.”
Bhader Singh was stopped in his car in Waltham Abbey in December 2011 and HMRC officers found two parcels wrapped as Christmas presents, but actually contained £49,800 in cash.
A search of his home uncovered a further £40,200 in a wardrobe and a diary showing details of money that Singh collected and distributed over six months, totalling around £14.5 million, some of which was linked to Strauss and Anglotrade Beverages Ireland.
This led officers to Strauss and his full part in the scam, as the investigation linked him to more than £7 million of laundered money. Strauss was found with £50,060 in a sports bag when arrested in 2012.
Both were found guilty of being a part of the money laundering racket following a seven-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Confiscation proceedings to recover the proceeds of the fraud will follow.
Two other defendants were found not guilty for their part in the money laundering and acquitted on Tuesday, March 3.
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