Police have been watching a flat in South East London for over a month after reports of suspicious activities. Without much to go on, investigations have been slow. The owners have been established as legitimate legal tenants, apparently running a small business.
Telephone calls and emails have been intercepted with nothing more exciting than multi orders for ink cartridges and the occasional sparse bookings for appointments with the resident mobile hair stylist.
However, with known criminals frequenting the place and packages being delivered by unmarked couriers on a daily basis, the police have concerns about the legality of activities within the property.
Settling in for another night of observation on Saturday the 10th of October, police noticed a young man, shifty looking, wearing a hoodie to disguise his identity nervously approach the flat.
After getting no response from the occupants, he left a package on the doorstep and hurried off. After ensuring the place was secure, police then approached the package with caution. Opening it they were surprised to find nothing more than an ink cartridge. The ownership of an ink cartridge is obviously not illegal. It’s not even as if there is anything to suggest it might be stolen.
Disappointed, they returned to headquarters to regroup and decide where to go from there. Initial thoughts are involving winding down the operation. With no proof of illegal activity and only suspicion to go on, man hours are being wasted.
Early next morning, the police receive a call from a high street bank reporting high volumes of cash being passed through an account. At last they have their lead and it takes them straight to the flat in question.
After obtaining a search warrant, the police forced an entry into the premises and found their gold mine.
The place was full of paper money, ink cartridges and printers and computers. It doesn’t take long to establish that this is no small operation. The tenants of surrounding flats have all joined forces and it would seem this money laundering scheme is much bigger than the police first believed, with several flats being knocked through to minimise suspicion of visitors to one flat.
It seems the main ring leaders had established a business under the guise of mobile hairdresser. This meant that while minimal books could be kept, ensuring cash could be paid into an account without incurring the attention of bank officials.
Out of greed, they have been caught out. Printing money with their own rudimentary way of using printers and ink cartridges may seem highly stupid and simple but for some time they have managed to get away with it. Heads will certainly be rolling at the bank for this.
Once the police had gained access to the computer records of this so-called company, they were able to trace a whole host of illegal transactions. One or two large cheques and entered the business account through other companies that the led to a whole host of financial investigations, solving many other problems.
Suspicion had never been aroused at the bank because all these cheques were from so-called legitimate businesses. However, getting cocky, the cheques were for much larger amounts than a ‘mobile hairdresser’ would normally be dealing with cash had also began passing through the account at a vastly increased rate.
Thanks to their greediness, police were able to confiscate all printed money, computers, ink cartridges and business records as evidence and the couple were incarcerated for five years.
Financial expert Catherine Harvey looks at the use of ink cartridges in a case of money laundering. To find out more please visit http://www.inksave.co.uk/