Fraudsters who conned a Lincolnshire health trust with fake promises to build a mental health unit, pocketed a total of £16 million from them and other public bodies, it’s been revealed.
Criminals behind the scam have been ordered to pay back around £3.3 million.
As previously reported, an international organised crime group defrauded public bodies, including a Lincolnshire NHS trust, out of over £12 million.
A £1.28 million payment to build a mental health unit at Lincoln St George’s Hospital was diverted to the crime gang when bank details were not checked.
The criminal benefit from public bodies across the country was identified through the Proceeds of Crime Act by Lincolnshire Police investigators involved in Operation Tarlac as £16 million.
After 12 people were sentenced for offences including conspiracy to defraud and to launder money, investigators within the Economic Crime Unit pursued those convicted to confiscate any available money associated with the crimes.
For the 12 offenders, criminal benefits of £16,015,687.26 were identified and confiscation orders for £3,372.280.24 have been made, along with default prison sentences of 34 years, 6 months and 14 days should the orders not be paid.
The operation commenced in September 2011 after a report from the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust of a fraud to the value of £1,280.814.11.
The investigation rapidly grew and encompassed other similar offences across the UK against public bodies and other organisations.
The investigation identified losses to the organisations in excess of £12 million.
Three separate trials between 2016 and 2017 at Leicester Crown Court saw substantial terms of imprisonment handed down to the conspirators and those playing lesser roles in specific money laundering matters.
The following illustrates convictions, sentences and the outcome of the proceeds of crime hearings after the original trials at Leicester Crown Court:
Walter Wagbatsoma, 48 from Nigeria. Convictions – conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to 3 years and 6 months. Criminal benefit £1,364,690.00. Confiscation Order £1,364,690.00. Default sentence 7.5 years.
Stephen Tyndale, 49 from London. Convictions – conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to 10 years. Criminal benefit £4,736,710. Confiscation Order £306,587.18. Default sentence 3 years.
Oluwatoyin Allison, 51 from London (convicted in his absence and remains at large). Convictions – conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to 7 years. Criminal benefit £1,232,825.69. Confiscation Order £152,198.00. Default sentence 7.5 years.
Asif Habib, 54 of Glasgow, lately of Dubai. Convictions -conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to 3 years and 4 months. Criminal benefit £1,815,693.20. Confiscation Order £543,972.00. Default sentence 5 years.
Monica Thomson, 41 from Glasgow. Convictions – conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to 2 years and 10 months. Criminal benefit £1,539,232.73. Confiscation Order £116,455.70. Default sentence 13 months.
Abdul Naeem, aged 37 from Redditch. Convictions – a specific act of money laundering. Sentenced to 5 years and 7 months. Criminal benefit £2,189,445.95. Confiscation Order £152,891.83. Default sentence 2 years.
Imtiaz Khoda, 45 of Dubai. Convictions – conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to 4 years and 6 months. Criminal benefit, Confiscation Order and default sentence are all pending determination.
- Zahid Muhammed, 49 from Glasgow. Convictions – a specific act of money laundering. Sentenced to 21 months suspended for two years with 210 hours unpaid work. Criminal benefit £357,818.82. Confiscation Order £199,684.86. Default sentence 2 years.
- Abul Ghaffar, 69 from Redditch. Convictions – a specific act of money laundering. Sentenced to 22 weeks suspended for 15 months. Criminal benefit £286,209.47. Confiscation Order £183,227.67. Default sentence 2 years.
- Mohammed Nadeem, 34 from Redditch. Convictions – conspiracy to launder money. Sentenced to 5 years and 7 months. Criminal benefit £2,269,420.80. Confiscation Order £152,198.00. Default sentence 2 years.
- Yagnesh Patel, 48 from Staines Upon Thames. Convictions – a specific act of money laundering. Sentenced to 15 months suspended for 2 years with 140 hours unpaid work. Criminal benefit £200,000. Confiscation Order £200,000.00. Default sentence 2 years.
- Oghogho Ehanire, 44 from Manchester. Convictions – a specific act of money laundering. Sentenced to 12 months suspended for 2 years with 210 hours of unpaid work. Criminal benefit £23,640.60. Confiscation Order £375. Default sentence 14 days.
Lincolnshire Police’s largest proceeds of crime case
Detective Sergeant Mike Billam from Operation Tarlac said: “The confiscation orders obtained against the defendants in this case represent the largest proceeds of crime case undertaken by Lincolnshire Police. Orders so far obtained are in excess of £3m and if satisfied will make a huge difference to some of the victims in this case. Any funds returned to public bodies such as the NHS I am sure will be gratefully received particularly in these austere times.”
The Proceeds of Crime Act allows for further orders to be made against an offender in the future until the full criminal benefit has been paid. This means investigators can continue to identify assets and cash from offenders, over and above the original confiscation order, until the full identified criminal benefit is paid.
Funds recovered through the confiscation orders in this case will go to compensate the victims of this investigation.