Harlow woman convicted over scheme which saw £600,000 scammed from elderly and vulnerable

A HARLOW woman was among six men and five women convicted of laundering £600,000 which was scammed from elderly and vulnerable people including a victim in Dagenham.

Victoria Abbott, 40-years-old, of The Stow, Harlow, Essex pleaded guilty on 28 March 2017 to one count of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

She had received £80,000 from a victim which took place in North London between 16 and 18 December 2014.

The team allowed their bank accounts to be used by crooks who had duped their victims into handing over a total of £614,700.

In some cases the victims had lost their entire life savings.

The fraudsters struck around the country with victims being targeted in Dagenham, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Staffordshire, Sussex, Sheffield, Rugby, Southsea, West Bromwich, Northampton and Middlesex.

Julie Thompson, a financial investigator, from South East Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: “This was long and complex investigation, with many of the offences dating back to 2014.

“Without the money launderers, who are prepared to knowingly allow their accounts to be used to launder the proceeds of crime, these abhorrent crimes would not happen.”

All 11 will be sentenced on January 8 January at Lewes Crown Court.

A Sussex Police spokesman said; “Safeguarding vulnerable and elderly people is a priority for us – you can see ways to help protect people and to contact us on our Operation Signature page.

The battle against money launderers targeting the elderly and vulnerable in society continues with 11 people convicted for money laundering offences following an investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).

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Full report from Sussex Police.

Last Friday (24/11) five men and four women were found guilty of money laundering offences, whilst a man and woman had pleaded guilty earlier this year at Hove Crown Court.

The offences took place around the country with victims being targeted from London, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Staffordshire, Sussex, Sheffield, Rugby, Southsea, West Bromwich, Northampton and Middlesex.

SEROCU’s Regional Fraud Team conducted an investigation under Operation Kanteen. The result was 11 defendants were either found guilty or pleaded guilty to 49 offences with a total loss of £614,700.00

Financial Investigator, Julie Thompson, from SEROCU’s Regional Fraud Team said: “This was long and complex investigation, with many of the offences dating back to 2014.

“The offenders targeted vulnerable elderly victims, who they tricked into giving them large sums of cash, sometimes their life savings, without any care for the impact this would have on their victims.

“Without the money launderers, who are prepared to knowingly allow their accounts to be used to launder the proceeds of crime, these abhorrent crimes would not happen.

“These convictions send out a clear message to offenders that the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit will pursue all those involved in these despicable crimes against the most vulnerable in our community.

“Our next step after these criminals are sentenced will be to aim to try and get compensation of the victims, in an attempt to recover the money they have spent a life time working for.”

The 11 who were found guilty or pleaded guilty were:

Kathleen McCarthy, 28-years-old, of Broom Road, Wolverhampton, West Midlands was found guilty of money laundering offences which included 17 counts of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and two counts of attempting to convert criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981.

McCarthy had received a total of £220,500.00 from 14 victims with offences taking place in London, Essex, Cambridgshire, Staffordshire, Sussex and Sheffield areas between 5 December 2013 and 18 December 2014.

Oliver Boswell, 29-years-old, of Broom Road, Wolverhampton, West Midlands pleaded guilty on 4 January 2017 to four counts of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Boswell had received a total of £24,500.00 from three victims which took place in Northampton, London and Middlesex between 9 April and 8 May 2014.

Both McCarthy and Boswell failed to attend court, McCarthy was found guilty in her absence, and now the husband and wife are wanted by the court.

Philip Montague, 61-years-old, of Sandon Road, Basildon, Essex was found guilty of money laundering offences including three counts of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

He received a total of £101,000.00 from a victim which took place in North London between 13 October and 6 November 2014.

Scott Watkins, 37-years-old, of Matlock Road, Coventry, Warwickshire was found guilty of money laundering offences which included 15 counts by unanimous decision and one count by majority decision of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

He had received a total of £142,100.00 from the four victims which took place in Rugby, Southsea, West Bromwich and North London areas between 19 August 2014 and 9 April 2015.

Francis O’Rourke, 42-years-old, of Broome Road, Wolverhampton, West Midlands was found guilty by majority verdict of two counts of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

He had received £9,500 from a victim in the West Bromwich area which took place between 17 and 19 December 2014.

Charlotte Morris, 38-years-old of Essex Close, Kenilworth, Warwickshire was found guilty of one count of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

She had received £6,000 from a victim in the Rugby area which took place between 8 and 10 April 2014.

Kyle Wright, 23-years-old, of Marriott Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, was found guilty of one count of entering into or becoming concerned in a Money Laundering arrangement, contrary to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

He had received £10,000 from a victim in the North London area which took place between 21 and 29 April 2014.

Roseanna Sheridan, 48-years-old, of no fixed abode was convicted by majority verdict of one count of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

She had received £7,300 from a victim in the Northampton area which took place between 23 and 24 April 2014.

Chantelle Hinton 27-years-old, of Burbury Close, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was found guilty by majority verdict of one count of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

She had received £2,800 from a victim in the North London area which took place between 6 and 8 August 2014.

Paul Farn, 53-years-old of Marriott Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, was found guilty of one unanimous verdict count and two majority verdict counts of entering into or becoming concerned in a Money Laundering arrangement, contrary to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

He arranged for £20,000.00 to be paid into the bank account of Kyle Wright from a victim in the North London area which took place between 21 and 29 April 2014.

Kyle Wright, 23-years-old of Marriott Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, was found guilty of one unanimous verdict count of entering into or becoming concerned in a Money Luandering arrangement contray to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

He received £20,000.00 from a victim in the North London area which took place between 12 and 29 April 2014

Victoria Abbott, 40-years-old, of The Stow, Harlow, Essex pleaded guilty on 28 March 2017 to one count of converting criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

She had received £80,000 from a victim which took place in North London between 16 and 18 December 2014.

All the defendants are to be sentenced on 8 January 2018 at Lewes Crown Court.

A Sussex Police spokesman said; “Safeguarding vulnerable and elderly people is a priority for us – you can see ways to help protect people and to contact us on our Operation Signature page.

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