Two men sentenced for money laundering in a betting scam which netted them £3.5 million, have been ordered to pay back some of their ill-gotten gains to victims.
The two men were involved in a complex case of money laundering which police believe they had been running for about 5 years. They were alerted to the two men by Action Fraud, who received complaints from members of the public.
Both men pled guilty in February this year, to money laundering and David Head, who is thought to be the ringleader, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and Lee Taylor was given 20 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 2 years.
Once the investigation began into the two men, police bought in an expert financial investigator, who conducted an in-depth examination into their complex fraud. The fraud involved contacting known horse racing gamblers and persuaded them to place bets into accounts of himself and Taylor. They would send out unsolicited texts from anonymous tipsters encouraging gamblers to bet on certain races. The two men then simply pocketed the cash.
To keep the fraud going David Head would then ask for more money from victims, telling them it was to recoup their losses or that winnings were tied up in off-shore accounts and they needed to pay a fee to release it. Several victims were identified during the investigation, some of these victims were encouraged to invest in a syndicate which offered huge cash returns on their investments.
Following a Proceeds Of Crime hearing, David Head was ordered to pay back £2,114, from his current assets within 60 days. Lee Taylor was ordered to pay back his available assets of £61,784, he was given 3 months to pay this money back to his victims. If the two men fail to do so, they face further time in prison.
However, it does not end there for the two men, police say they will continue to check any additional assets and if they find any, new orders will be made.
DCI Richardson said: “”The court found that Head and Taylor had benefited by amounts greater than those they are currently required to repay. However, it is important to understand that we keep records of all existing confiscation orders where the full benefit amount isn’t immediately available and regularly check to identify any additional assets which have been obtained since the original order was made.
“We can then apply to the court for an increase in the original order. We can also seek the help of the South East Regional Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) team, part of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) who will contact the offenders to help identify more assets.
“Meanwhile, even orders such as those just granted still send the important message that we will always go after criminal assets even beyond conviction, to try to return them lawful and useful purposes.”