Indian spared from jail sentence in money laundering scam

Indian spared from jail sentence in money laundering scam

Ibrahim Patel, 43, was caught ferrying 96,000 pounds in cash from Bolton to Luton in Bedfordshire. Investigators say he was working for a gang which handled up to 6 million pounds a month.

At the Southwark Crown Court, Patel escaped with a 40-month suspended sentence after he claimed his role was no more than that of a driver.
Prosecuting lawyer Richard Jory said officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) followed Patel from the Khojent money service bureau on the outskirts of Manchester in the early hours of 12 April 2007.

Patel and Luton-resident Asif Ali, 39, to whom the cash was being delivered, were arrested.
Patel told the police that he had been a taxi driver in Bolton for five years, earning 100 pounds a week. He said he had been approached by a man offering him 200 pounds to take the money to Luton.

Ali, the man who picked up the cash in Luton, faces charges that he handled more than 30 million pounds of criminal money over a six-month period at a rate of around 5 million pounds per month.

Judge Martin Beddoe told Patel to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and pay back the 200 pounds, as well as 400 pounds in court costs. He also told him to complete a course intended to prevent re-offending.

The judge said, "The Crown has accepted that, as far as you were concerned, this was a one-off offence, and that the circumstances of your involvement are limited".
He added, "However, it can't have escaped you as you took possession of that money in Bolton that it was a very considerable sum of money, even if you didn't know the specific amount, and that you were making an exceptional journey to deliver it to someone in Luton."