14 Oct 2009

Police recoup £1.4m from criminals in last two weeks as war on crime profits gathers pace

Oct 12 2009 by Rebekah Oruye, Birmingham Mail

WEST Midlands Police is driving home the message that crime does not pay after confiscating £1.4 million from criminals in the past two weeks.

In addition, nearly £100,000 in cash was seized from a car on the M6 in Birmingham, believed to have been intended for criminal use.

Det Chief Insp Simon Wallis, head of the force’s economic crime team, said: “This money has been taken from those who think crime is an easy way to make money.

“It brings West Midlands Police to a total of £15 million seized from criminals in the last 18 months.

“On many of these occasions through financial investigation and the confiscation process we are able to trace monies and give them back to victims. In cases where money is transferred abroad, it still is able to be retrieved. Crime does not pay. We will investigate those involved in criminality to ensure that they do not enjoy their ill gotten gains.”

Among the success stories for the police is the near £900,000 seized from Walsall conman Mponjoli Malakasuka, who had been stealing and exporting high powered luxury cars.

Malakasuka, aged 36, from the Yew Tree estate, was ordered to pay back the money in one month or face an additional four years in jail. He was originally sentenced to three-and-a-half years in July 2008 for conspiracy to steal.

Malakasuka had used a variety of sophisticated methods to steal prestige vehicles which he then exported out of the UK to Tanzania and Kenya. The cars were stolen both through car key burglaries and a variety of identity fraud and fake hire purchase agreements.

The cars included Mercedes Benz S320 CDi and Porsche Cayenne cars. In all over £300,000-worth of vehicles were stolen.

At the time of his arrest police discovered Malakasuka to be living a life of luxury in his four-bed house. At his address were pictures of luxury houses in Tanzania into which officers believed he had invested his fraudulent cash.

The court accepted the houses in Tanzania were proceeds of his criminality. Financial investigators were also able to show thousands of pounds passing through in excess of 70 bank accounts in the UK and Tanzania including one account which alone had £350,000. Det Sgt Jonathan Jones, who led the investigation for the Economic Crime Team, said: “This has been a great investigation, as not only have we stopped fraud and theft, but we have now recovered the profit that this man made from his criminality.”

In a separate case a money launderer from Birmingham was ordered to pay back more than £450,000 of his criminal profit.

Barrington Fulcott, aged 48, from Kingstanding, was told to pay £450,386 at the hearing in Birmingham Crown Court.

He was given six months to return the cash, or face an extra four years in prison. Fulcott was originally sentenced to 42 months in prison in February 2008 in relation to three counts of money laundering.

He had gathered considerable wealth from his criminal activity which had allowed him to purchase five properties in the West Midlands and begin the development of a large home in St Annes, Jamaica.

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