Building and roofing scams across Kent, including in Tovil (Maidstone), and Willesborough (Ashford) have resulted in a successful prosecution of a man for money-laundering, following an investigation led by KCC Trading Standards.
Vincenzo Gimigliano was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment at the Inner London Crown Court on Thursday (7 July) after pleading guilty to 11 counts of money laundering, totalling nearly £100,000.
He was also ordered to pay £35,000 in compensation.
Between September 2010 and August 2011, ten cheques and one money transfer, amounting to £99,000, were credited into accounts held by Gimigliano.
The cheques were made payable to a company named EMC to which Gimigliano had access. He originally claimed that he had been given the cheques by gambling associates to settle their gambling losses to him.
He then said he cleared the cheques through his bank account, giving the money back to his gambling associates the next time he saw them so he could then play them for the money.
However, the money had in fact come from seven building and roofing scams across Kent, Surrey and London, with victims in their 60s and 70s.
Gimigliano, from Oxfordshire, admitted having doubts about the source of the money but he asked no questions – not even when he was passed cheques to be drawn on the accounts of females, despite confirming he gambled only with male players.
In sentencing Judge Tudor Owen said: “A number of elderly victims were cheated and deceived for work that was either not needed or charged at exorbitant amounts. This is not only criminal but mean offending.
“The victims were asked to make payment to a company making it all the more credible and giving it an air of respectability.
“This is not to say you asked for these monies however, you provided the bank accounts and this is significant. You acted for a series of people who may or may not have been connected and they came to you because of the service you offered them.
“Getting the money is one thing, turning it into cash is another; a very important part of the process. You chose to do it. The criminality of money laundering cannot be underestimated. This is a serious matter.”
Kent County Council Trading Standards acted as the prosecution authority for the case which involved out-of-county investigations.
Operations Manager Clive Phillips said: “We are pleased with this result which again highlights what can be achieved when local authorities work together. “Although it is not always possible to identify principal offenders we will always follow the money and take action against those who choose to conceal the ill-gotten gains of doorstep criminals.
“Gimigliano assisted criminals who had targeted vulnerable consumers by accepting and cashing cheques from a variety of sources. He turned a blind eye to their suffering and as such we are pleased he recognised his actions were criminal by eventually entering his guilty plea.
“We always recommend consumers always seek more than the first quote they receive and avoid agreeing to work on your doorstep – take time to consider who you are dealing with.”
The investigation into Gimigliano was supported by the (National Trading Standards) Tri Region Scambuster Team (TRS) which has been set up to provide frontline operational and investigative support to sixty one Local authority Trading Standards Services across the East of England, London and the South East.
The TRS team assisted Kent Trading Standards in obtaining victim and witness evidence.
Carl Robinson, Chair of the Tri-Region Scambusters team, said: “This is an excellent result and yet another example of the successes of collaboration between local authority
“Trading Standards services and regional assets such as the Scambuster teams. Doorstep crime and associated money laundering has been identified as a significant and increasing problem.
“Criminals have no respect for local authority borders, but together, as this case has clearly demonstrated, we can successfully prosecute offenders to protect vulnerable consumers.”