January 3, 2019

A criminal gang behind a series of frauds and attempted fraud worth over £1.2 million have been sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison, following a successful operation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist anti-fraud police unit sponsored by the banking industry.

The case involved a sophisticated organised criminal network that recruited bank staff and then transferred stolen funds through a series of ‘money mule’ accounts.

Mother and son Sandy Kaur, 48, and Aaron Sanghera, 27, both of Lyndhurst Rise, Chigwell, Essex, were sentenced on Friday 21 December at the Old Bailey to 4 years and 2 years 9 months in prison respectively, after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.

The pair used a business account for a company called AV Traders to launder funds stolen by a gang of fraudsters, who were previously sentenced to a total of 37 years in prison in July 2017.

Over £390,000 of stolen funds was transferred to the AV Traders business account, owned by Aaron Sanghera, after being sent through several other accounts to try and disguise the criminal origin of the money. As well as being used to launder money, the company account was also used for legitimate trading, making it even harder to spot the fraud.

A further £360,000 of fraudulently obtained funds were laundered using accounts belonging to other members of the gang. An additional attempt was also made to transfer almost £487,000 of stolen funds to another account controlled by the gang, but this was spotted and blocked by bank staff at Lloyds Bank. This brings the total actual and attempted fraud committed by the gang to £1.2 million.

The fraud was spotted by Lloyds Bank who referred the case to the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU). All victims were refunded.

This case formed part of a series of investigations since 2012 that have identified three criminal gangs throughout the UK involved in fraud, money laundering and tax evasion offences. All the gangs were linked through the money-laundering activities of Eddie Lakes, 42, of Brentford, Middlesex, who was successfully prosecuted three times over and received a total of nine years imprisonment. In total 14 defendants have been successfully prosecuted, receiving combined prison sentences of over 70 years, since the investigation was launched.

Glyn Whittick, Temporary Detective Chief Inspector of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, said:

“This was a highly organised gang that used corrupt bank staff to target customers and then launder the stolen frauds through business accounts.

“Today’s sentencing shows that both the criminal gangs directly responsible for fraud and those who assist them will be tracked down and punished.

“In particular, this sends a strong message that setting up an account and allowing it to be used by fraudsters is a serious crime that can result in a lengthy prison sentence.”

Ends

Notes to Editor

  1. For more information, please contact the UK Finance press office on 0207 416 6750 or press@ukfinance.org.uk
  2. The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) is a unique pro-active police unit, with a national remit, formed as a partnership between UK Finance, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police together with the Home Office. It is fully sponsored by the cards and banking industries, with an on-going brief to investigate, target and, where appropriate, arrest and seek successful prosecution of offenders responsible for card, cheque and payment fraud crimes. It is headed up by a Detective Chief Inspector and comprises officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police forces who work alongside banking industry fraud investigators and support staff.
  3. Today’s sentencing follows the jailing of four former bank employees, Courtney Ayinbode, 29, Tajinder Galsinh, 35, Molly Jones, 24, and Benjamin Omoregie, 26, to a total of 20 years at the Old Bailey in July 2017. Three other individuals involved, Eddie Lakes, Kushveer Raulia and Parvez Hussain received a total of 17 years imprisonment for their part in the scam. The total sentences received are as follows: (TO ADD)
  4. The DCPCU’s lead investigator for the case was Paul Blumsom, who now works as a Police Staff Investigator at the City of London Police.