A man police said was ‘heavily involved’ in a huge money laundering operation has been jailed.
Naeem Khalid, 58, of Stott Street, Failsworth, Oldham, made a ‘calculated effort to disguise large sums of money that legitimate businesses had been scammed out of’, investigators added after he was sentenced. Police said money he laundered was traced back to millions of pounds lost by businesses who fell prey to scams.
An investigation by the City of London Police’s Serious Organised Crime Team uncovered 20 victims – including a care home, two solicitors’ firms and several manufacturers. Khalid – and 38-year-old Abiya Hussain – admitted to laundering £283,000 between them, the force said.
Former supermarket worker Hussain, of Grange Street, Failsworth, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing criminal property in December last year and was sentenced to an 18-month community order and unpaid work. A court heard her crimes were committed under the orders of others, and that she received ‘pocket money’ for her involvement.
Khalid also pleaded guilty to five counts of money laundering at a court hearing last December but has now been jailed at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court for 46 months. The force said his sentencing hearing was held on August 10, but details have only just been revealed.
Both Khalid and Hussain will now be subject to confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act, police said.
Detective Constable Ian Burditt 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 case dates back to 2017, when a bank contacted the City of London Police after Hussain asked that it exchange £800 worth of damaged £50 notes. She was arrested in February the following year. 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a number of bank accounts in her name that had received thousands of pounds in unexplained cash deposits, often withdrawn on the same day,” said the force in a statement.
“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.”
Police said Hussain’s phone linked her to Khalid and 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’.
Khalid was arrested in August, 2018. The force said: “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.”