On Thursday 7th April 2016 four men were been sentenced to a total of 35 months in prison and fined £4000 in relation to money laundering and fraud offences in High Wycombe.
The fraud offences involving victims and fraudulent transactions taking place across the world.
Using false identities the defendants were able to open a bank account, buy phones and attempt to sell items over the internet, creating an international scam worth thousands of pounds. They then sent the monies gained via a money transfer scheme to accomplices in South America.
The four men from High Wycombe appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court on Tuesday 19th January 2016 and pleaded guilty. They were sentenced at the same court on Thursday 7th April 2016 as follows:
A 24 year old man of Chiltern Avenue, High Wycombe was charged with conspiracy to transfer criminal property, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. He transferred criminal property, namely £36,000, knowing or suspecting that it was the proceeds of crime.
He was also charged with fraud contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006 and possession of false identity documents with improper intention. He was sentenced to a total of 22 months in prison
A 36 year old man of Rowan Avenue, High Wycombe was charged with conspiracy to transfer to criminal property, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. He transferred criminal property, namely £19,141, knowing or suspecting that it was the proceeds of crime. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison
A 29 year old man of Cressex Road, High Wycombe was charged with transferring criminal property contrary to section 327(1)(d) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2007. On Wednesday 27th March 2013 he transferred criminal property, namely £2,414, knowing or suspecting that it was the proceeds of crime. His sentence was a £4000 fine.
A 29 year old man of Rowan Avenue, High Wycombe was charged with transferring criminal property, contrary to section 327(1)(d) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2007. On Wednesday 8th May 2013 he transferred criminal property, namely £1,900, knowing or suspecting that it was the proceeds of crime. He was sentenced to a 12 month community order and 200 hours of unpaid work.
The offences relate to the following circumstances:
The 24 year old man was employed by Phones4U as a sales consultant based at a retail park in High Wycombe. Colluding with others, he used illegally obtained credit cards to buy sim-free phones, air time vouchers and accessories. He is also suspected of using details of stolen or cloned identities to set up fake credit agreements to buy phones.
Between the Tuesday 12th March 2013 and Tuesday 4th June 2013, the 24 year old man opened and operated an account at a branch of Barclays bank in London under the name of Ianis Macu using Romanian documents in the same name (in breach of Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006).
The 24 year old man, still operating as Ianis Macu, then made attempts to sell phones and other items via the internet using spoof internet sites and a cloned eBay account.
Two of the victims came forward, a man in the USA and a man in Belgium. They told police they were duped into sending more than £5,000 for items such as phones and a home cinema system which they had seen for sale over the internet. They never received the items.
The 24 year old man was also employed as an agent for the money transfer agency Western Union in High Wycombe. Using the knowledge of money transfer systems gained from his employment as an agent, he then transferred stolen money from his internet sales to a contact in Bolivia.
Following a tip off, Thames Valley Police mounted an operation to uncover the money laundering and fraudulent behaviour, which led to the identification of the 24 year old man, who was carrying false identification, and of the 36 year old man.
Enquiries revealed that both of the 29 year old men had also transferred stolen money to the 36 year old man using the Western Union system.
Retired fraud detective, James Deans, who brought the men to justice expressed his pleasure at today’s hearing: ‘I am delighted that this case has finally been brought to a conclusion. This is a fine example of partnership working with colleagues from Western Union and the mainstream banking sector to bring this group of organised criminals to justice.‘