Electrician laundered criminals’ stolen £85k
ASELF-EMPLOYED electrician who laundered £85,000 of stolen cash for organised criminals through his bank account has been jailed.
Atiq ur Rehman, of Blackburn Road, Accrington, received the cash in a business account and ‘quickly’ siphoned off the money by withdrawing large sums from banks in Accrington and Blackburn.
The dad-of-three pleaded guilty on the day of trial at Preston Crown Court to converting criminal property and was jailed for 12 months.
Prosecutor Anna Chestnutt said the money had been stolen from a bank account on January 12, 2016.
The Co-op Bank received a call from an unknown person falsely purporting to be the owner of the account who successfully answered all the security questions to access the account.
The offender then transferred the £85,000 to an account call ARN Traders - set up by Rehman four months earlier to run a ‘sideline’ electrical goods business.
Miss Chestnutt said Rehman made seven separate withdrawals or transfers between January 14 to January 19 to clear the money from his account and he received £1,151 for his services.
The court heard how Rehman transferred £49,950 to a Chinese construction bank account and also used £5,981 in Thompsons travel agent to buy €7,000. He visited Lloyds Bank in Accrington on two occasions to withdraw more than £16,000, Halifax bank in Accrington to withdraw £500 and Lloyds bank in Blackburn to take out £9,500.
Miss Chestnutt said Rehman presented his passport and driving licence on some occasions to withdraw the cash and was also captured on CCTV.
When the defendant was questioned by police he claimed to have been approached by a local businessman ‘who engaged him’. Miss Chestnutt said it has ‘never been the Crown’s case’ that Rehman made the initial call to the Co-op to access the victim’s account but that the prosecution say he instead played a ‘key role in dissipating funds towards the end’.
In a statement read out at court the victim said he was ‘very concerned’ about his ‘breach of privacy’ and is ‘fearful this could happen again’.
He said: “The knowl- edge an individual or more likely individuals had my personal details for years prior to the offence is worrying in the extreme.”
Atiq ur Rehman withdrew cash from the Halifax and Lloyds branches in Accrington town centre as well as transferring cash elsewhere