A message I continue to reinforce
Gurdip Singh, 37 years from Leicestershire headed up the organised crime group and controlled all the bank accounts. Singh received a total of 7 years 7 months imprisonment for these crimes and other similar fraud offences.
The gang of five males was involved in a fraud of over 2 million pounds stolen from Sussex University. The gang members were sentenced to a total of 16 years 7 months in prison, which is as a result of a 2-year joint investigation by our Money Laundering Team and the East Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART).
During the latter part of 2010 Sussex University was having new student accommodation being built. The work was being undertaken by a Manchester based construction company and involved a multi million pound contract. Payment was sent via an electronic transfer on a monthly basis.
However, when the university received a forged invoice they subsequently made a payment of over 2 million pounds into bank accounts controlled by Gurdip Singh from Leicester. Singh had set up a false construction business in the name of Balecourt Ltd. The university believed they were paying the Manchester Construction Company.
There is no doubt that Singh was the principle member of this organized Crime Group, but also involved in the crime were Singh’s business partner Hamel Bakrania from Leicester, Dennis Francis from Loughborough, Ohazurume from London and Andrew Wormstone, a Leeds based solicitor.
It was not until the Manchester firm queried the lack of payments from the university that the fraud was discovered and the lengthy investigation codenamed Court and convicted earlier this month.Operation Theta, commenced.
Singh pleaded guilty on 4th December 2012, but his four co-accused denied being involved in the fraud and money laundering crimes. They were tried at Leicester Crown
Another great result for DS Mick Richards and DC Nigel Tillings. Through their hard work and effective partnership with the East Midlands RART, a highly orgainised national criminal operation has been smashed and the main members of the group now serving substantial prison sentences. Time for a well deserved drink!
We in the police are facing many new challenges at the moment and there still remains that air of uncertainty. However, what is constant and not changing at all is the criminals committing crimes and a lot of the crimes remain the same, theft, burglary, drug supply, assaults of varying degree to name a few. Some criminals (not all) are also getting more sophisticated and I see this in the work of my teams in fraud, cyber-crime and other organized crime methodology. We therefore need an experienced and skilled police force to tackle all these types of criminals.
My point: experience and skill is developed and learnt and police leaders are promoted through the ranks, enhancing their knowledge as they go. This is British policing.
How will direct recruitment to superintendent achieve this? You cannot replace accumulated knowledge of policing, both frontline and detective; no training can replace first hand operational experience and understanding.
Promotion is getting harder to achieve and due to the reduced senior ranks, so competitive. Our morale will be dented further if most of these cherished posts are given to the direct entry banker, supermarket manager, company director, etc.!!
In a recent Policy Exchange report – ‘Policing 2020: policing in next 10 years’ I noticed the proposal to set up Citizen Police Academies to train the public on how to play their part in the fight against crime! There will be courses on how to citizen arrest safely and how to avoid danger……hmmmm!!! Any takers?!
Criminal’s cash handed over to Crimestoppers.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of handing over a cheque for £5000 to Carolyn Randall, the Area Manager of Sussex crimestoppers.
My team of dedicated Financial Investigators work alongside conventional investigation and undertake cash forfeitures and confiscation investigations on Sussex criminals and members of Organised Crime Groups to ensure that these criminals pay back the cash equivalent of their benefits from crime. The Proceeds Of Crime Act (POCA) is a great tool to strip offenders of their assets and plough it back into our fight against crime.
Whilst it can hurt to go to prison, it really does hurt far more to hit them in the pocket and stop them in their tracks! An absolute pleasure for us of course!!!
Carolyn Randall said ” We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Sussex police and to receive such a generous donation from the Sussex police POCA fund. Last year Sussex Crimestoppers received more than 2000 actionable calls which helped the police solve crime in the community”.
If you have any information about crime and want to stay anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go online towww.crimestoppers.uk.org.
I went up to the Home Office yesterday as I sit on the multi-agency National Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) Quality Assurance Panel. The reason I am involved in this is because a couple of years ago I had a four month secondment working in the Home Office to produce the National DHR guidance. An amazing opportunity, working with such a variety of agencies, bringing us all together for the one purpose of learning the lessons from domestic homicides so we can better safeguard and protect victims.
DHRs are about improving the way in which we work both individually and collectively as organisations. Establishing if there are lessons that could be learnt form the case, how they will be acted on and what is expected to change as a result.
It is important to remember that domestic violence is often repeated by the perpetrator and the violence also escalates over time. A domestic violence incident, which results in the death of the victim are very rarely a first attack. Many people and agencies may have known of these attacks, including psychological and emotional abuse; neighbors, family, GPs, housing, hospitals, police to name a few. Where there missed opportunities and can we all learn to help prevent these awful crimes?
Back to yesterday, freezing train and even colder meeting room at the Home Office. I think they are saving money by turning their heating down!
As a QA panel, we are both statutory and voluntary agencies and victim family representatives, chaired by the Home Office. We assess report standards across the country as well as identify good and poor practice and training needs. We went through seven completed reviews, all from different parts of the country. All horrific crimes, involving violent murders and some in front of young children.
You really have to be made of stern stuff not to let it affect you too much and that comes from over 20 years in the police! Reading about the sad lives that some have endured and their sudden brutal deaths is difficult but I just stay focused on the job, knowing that what we do will help prevent future domestic murders.
Our Major Fraud Team receiving their outstanding investigator award from the Dep, they convicted 23 defendants for fraud totalling over £10 million!
The Deputy Chief Constable presented an Outstanding Investigator Award to our hard working Major Fraud Team at our Awards Ceremony on Wednesday.
Chris Neilson (ECU DI) and myself put forward our Major Fraud Team as often their work goes on unnoticed and we thought it was about time to promote and acknowledge their commitment and expertise.
The Team, led by DS Sally Smith has undertaken a series of complex fraud investigations involving significant financial loss to many victims due to highly organsied criminal activity across national and international law enforcement jurisdiction.
I have previously mentioned some of these excellent investigations; they include Peckover, Greening and Roberts.
You cannot underestimate the work and detail that goes into these cases, but the results speak for themselves-
The Team has convicted 23 defendants of fraud offences totaling in excess of £10 million over the last 18 months…….. beat that visible policing on the beat!!
When you measure dedication and commitment to the job, well, Detective Constable James Whiley missed our ECU Christmas meal to see Gary Roberts convicted and sentenced to 4 ½ years at Chichester Crown Court! (And what a good meal he missed…. not wanting to rub it in!)
Roberts had not only repeatedly defrauded financial institutes in excess of £350 000 by opening accounts with fake identification, pretending to be a successful businessman, but he also befriended vulnerable women to get money from them. He had 44 separate bank accounts.
It is always important to take time out to appreciate hard work and such amazing results from a small team of 5 detectives.
Well done to Sally, James, Des, Dave and Val.