DREAM TURNED TO NIGHTMARE
Gang’s victims exploited after promise of work
Four men have been jailed for a total of nearly 20 years for a string of offences including money laundering and fraud.
Latvian nationals Hardijs Langsteins ( 37), Maris Kursis (30), Aivars Dzagarjan (28) and Arvids Civkors (30) were each sentenced to four years and 11 months in prison at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
The gang were responsible for bringing Latvian nationals into the UK and housing them in crowded accommodation at several addresses in West Lothian.
A police investigation launched in April 2016 found that victims believed they would be offered employment, usually at a warehouse in Bathgate where Civkors worked.
Some victims were forced to surrender their wages to the group, others were forced to open bank accounts which were then used for money laundering and fraud by the gang.
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Healy said: “We are pleased with the convictions and custodial sentences for members of this crime group, who exploited vulnerable victims for financial gain.
“We hope that the custodial
sentences will send a clear message that dissuades others from becoming involved in this type of organised crime, while also providing confidence for other victims to come forward.
“Our communities can rest assured that in cases like this we work closely with Crown Office and are strongly supported by other partner agencies, who are all committed to bringing those responsible for such offences to justice, whilst providing victims with all the necessary support and assistance they may require.”