Duo sentenced for money laundering operation traced back to multi-million pound scams
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A man and woman have been sentenced for laundering money that was traced back to millions of pounds fraudulently obtained from victims.
An investigation by the City of London Police’s Serious Organised Crime Team (SOCT) uncovered 20 victims, including a care home, two solicitors' firms and several manufacturers. The pair admitted to laundering £283,000 between them.
Naeem Khalid, 58, of Stott Street, Manchester, pleaded guilty to five counts of money laundering in December 2021 at Manchester Crown Court. He was sentenced to 46 months in jail at the same court on Wednesday 10 August 2022.
Abiya Hussain, 38, of Grange Street, Manchester, was given an 18-month community order at Manchester Crown Court on 20 December 2021. She was also sentenced to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and a 10-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR).
Khalid and Hussain will now be subject to confiscation proceedings.
Detective Constable Ian Burditt, from the City of London Police’s Serious Organised Crime Team (SOCT) said:
“Organised criminals rely on money launderers to disguise the proceeds of crime, which enables them to continue offending.
“Khalid was heavily involved in a large money laundering operation and made a calculated effort to disguise large sums of money that legitimate businesses had been scammed out of. He also distributed cash to Hussain, who was lower down the chain of the operation.
“This result shows that criminals who target innocent members of the public will face justice for their actions.”
The activity first came to light in 2017, when a bank contacted the City of London Police after Hussain asked that it exchange £800 worth of damaged £50 notes.
Hussain was arrested by the City of London Police in February 2018. Financial enquiries identified a number of bank accounts in her name that had received thousands of pounds in unexplained cash deposits, often withdrawn on the same day. The deposits were linked to companies that had been defrauded after employees received emails appearing to be from senior managers, requesting that they make a payment to an account allegedly owned by a supplier or business.
An examination of Hussain’s mobile phone linked her to Khalid. The pair had been in regular contact to exchange account details and share images of online banking accounts, ATM screens and bank cards, as well as documents related to the damaged £50 notes she had tried to exchange in 2017.
The City of London Police arrested Khalid in August 2018. Further enquiries revealed that in September 2015, an account opened by Khalid received four payments with a total value of around £10,000, most of which was withdrawn shortly after it was deposited. The money was traced back to a manufacturing company that had lost £548,899, after it fell victim to a phone scam.
In October 2015, £148,410 was paid into a business account opened by Khalid, the majority of which was withdrawn on the same day. It was identified as part of £742,000 that was lost by a company following a similar scam.
Several other accounts opened by Khalid, or identified as having the same address, phone number or IP address, followed a similar pattern of activity.
Khalid’s mobile phone contained photos of bank statements that showed large sums of cash being deposited into various accounts, including the business account that had received £148,410. It also contained several messages where he exchanged third party names, addresses and bank details.
During his police interview, Khalid answered ‘no comment’ to all questions. Hussain stated that she was asked to exchange the damaged £50 notes and open a series of bank accounts by an ex-partner who she could no longer contact.