Gang stole £12.6m from public bod­ies Mid­land men jailed for laun­der­ing the money

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes Lo­cal Govern­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

TWO Red­ditch men have been jailed for their part in a fraud which fun­nelled £12.6 mil­lion cash from NHS hos­pi­tals, coun­cils and the Guernsey govern­ment.

Ab­dul Naeem, 36, and Mo­hammed Nadeem, 33, of Line­holt Close, Oak­en­shaw South, were each given 67-month terms for laun­der­ing the dirty cash through le­git­i­mate busi­nesses in­clud­ing a café in Sut­ton Cold­field.

Ab­dul Ghaf­far, 68, from the same ad­dress, re­ceived a 22-week sus­pended sen­tence.

They were among ten men who were part of a high stakes crim­i­nal con­spir­acy which fooled 22 bod­ies in­clud­ing health trusts into hand­ing over the money by send­ing forged let­ters claim­ing to be from le­git­i­mate build­ing con­trac­tors car­ry­ing out work for the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The let­ters an­nounced a change of bank de­tails to over­seas ac­counts op­er­ated by the gang, who then laun­dered the money through other le­git­i­mate busi­nesses.

Sen­tenc­ing ten of those in­volved at Le­ices­ter Crown Court, Judge Philip Head said: “This was a so­phis­ti­cated and wide­spread fraud in its con­cep­tion and ex­e­cu­tion.

“These bod­ies were se­lected be­cause it was hoped their ac­count­ing pro­cesses would be vul­ner­a­ble. The loss falls nec­es­sar­ily on those who are not able to pay it, ul­ti­mately the mem­bers of the public whose taxes fund these bod­ies.”

Af­ter a Lin­coln NHS hospi­tal first raised the alarm, de­tec­tives un­cov­ered a fraud and money laun­der­ing oper­a­tion cross­ing in­ter­na­tional bor­ders, in­volv­ing not just the UK, but Europe, Africa and the Mid­dle East.

The man the judge called the “prime mover”, iden­ti­fied in court as Nige­rian na­tional Bayo Awonorin, is still at large, hav­ing failed to an­swer to po­lice bail. Among the con­spir­a­tors were a former night­club toi­letries’ seller, com­pany di­rec­tors and a newsagent. Ill-got­ten gains were laun­dered through “many lay­ers” of ac­counts, with the cash fun­nelled to le­git­i­mate busi­nesses, in­clud­ing a chil­dren’s soft play area de­vel­op­ment in Scot­land and the café in Sut­ton Cold­field.

The con­spir­acy’s ten­drils stretched to com­pany ac­counts in Poland, Dubai and Nige­ria, with tar­gets in­clud­ing an air­port de­vel­op­ment run by the States of Guernsey, the Royal Col­lege of Arts and NHS trusts in Lin­colnshire, Lon­don, and the North.

> Ab­dul Naeem is one of those jailed

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