Make your bed and lie in it: Man sentenced for money laundering after cash stash found under bed
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A man has been sentenced for money laundering after police found him in possession of £280,000, including a quarter of a million pounds stashed in a drawer under a bed.
Lin Guo, 32, of Bywell Place, Canning Town, London, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering. He was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for 18 months, at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday 11 August 2022. Guo was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.
Detective Inspector Mark Forster, from the City of London Police, said:
“Guo portrayed himself as an innocent person when he was stopped by officers, but the reality was, he was part of a organised crime group (OCG) involved in money laundering.
“He was responsible for holding cash and distributing it to others lower down in the OCG to deposit it into the UK banking system. This causes significant harm to the UK economy and those involved in this type of crime need to be held to account for their actions."
Officers found £252,000 hidden in the drawer of a divan bed and a further £6,300 inside a bedside table after arresting Guo outside of Canning Town Station in November 2019.
When he was stopped by police, Guo was carrying a black rucksack which contained several bundles of cash, totalling £20,000, wrapped in a Chinese newspaper. He was also found to have £1,200 in Scottish bank notes in his pocket.
During a search on Guo, a set of keys were found and officers were told these belonged to his friend and that he had been given the keys while walking to the station. The keys actually belonged to Guo’s home address a short distance away.
Officers searched Guo’s property and found £252,000 in UK bank notes in a drawer under a bed in the spare bedroom. The money was found hidden underneath a number of reusable shopping bags.
The search also uncovered further cash stashed in a bedside table, two cash-counting machines and a device which checks bank notes to ascertain if they are counterfeit.
A number of mobile phones were found at Guo’s home address and examination work alongside a Chinese interpreter indicated that the phones were being used in Chinese Underground Banking.
Chinese Underground Banking is a major threat to the UK economy. As China does not permit more than $50,000 to be taken out of the country in a year, Chinese nationals often use informal currency exchanges. As part of this, they will transfer currency electronically in China and the equivalent amount is provided to someone in the UK as cash which can be deposited into a bank account. The cash released into the UK is criminally derived, usually from prostitution or other criminality.
Guo’s home address was being used as a ‘cash house’ where money was stored and counted prior to being laundered into UK bank account.
A number of messages found on the mobile phones seized included discussions about currency exchange, details of bank transfers in China, screenshots showing money transfers and individuals asking for exchange rates. The messages spanned a number of months throughout 2019.
During his police interview, Guo answered no comment to all questions and refused to cooperate with the investigation by providing the pin code to unlock his phone.
Along with his sentence, an order was made for the destruction of the phones and cash counting machines found at his address. The money found at Guo’s address and in his possession will also be forfeited.