A mother and son crime duo who laundered more than £750,000 for a fraudster businessman after he stole the cash have been jailed. Sandy Kaur, 47, and her son Aaron Sanghera, 26, used their London company to funnel funds offshore through several different bank accounts.
But the pair’s scheme which began in August 2013 has now been dismantled as they were sent to prison on today for a combined total of seven years.
The scam started when an imposter went to the Lloyds Bank branch in Kings Cross, central London, to make a transfer of £420,000.
With the assistance of four bank clerks – who have already been jailed for their part in the operation – the transfer was made after bogus paperwork relating to the purchase of a house in France was presented.
The imposter also had a fake driving licence in the name of customer Peter Weibel, who the crooked clerks had identified was a possible target.
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The case at the Old Bailey heard how a few days later, the imposter returned to carry out a second transfer worth £330,000.
The court heard the money moved through several accounts before a total of £390,709.33 was paid into an account held by AV Traders – the company run by Kaur and university drop-out Sanghera.
A total of eight payments was made over the course of five days.
Judge Anuja Dhir QC told the pair: “I heard the way which you as a team operated and I am truly satisfied that this was a joint enterprise.
“You are both equally culpable of committing these offences.
“You were trusted by those planning the fraud to launder the proceeds and you did.”
She sentenced Kaur to four years in prison with Sanghera receiving a sentence of two years and nine months – saying she had taken into account of the son’s diabetes.
The court previously heard how Kaur had been involved in another money laundering scheme in 2011 and had managed to scam £27,000.
Sanghera, of Lyndhurst Rise, Chigwell, east London, shook his head in the dock as his mother was sentenced before letting out a loud groan when the judge read out his prison sentence.
Earlier, he had told the court he would go into a coma within three hours if anything went wrong with his insulin device.
Fraud investigators have been unable to track down the funds following their transfer abroad.
Paul Cavin, prosecuting, said: “Where the funds went after that we do not know.
“Of course, it is extremely important to not fix the son with the sins of his mother – unless the evidence justifies such a conclusion.
“However we say that the evidence and the application of common sense will show that they were both in on this.
“A bank account controlled by her received some of the proceeds of those frauds.”
The court heard the company account holder’s name was Sanghera and he had set the account up at Metro bank. Kaur, who was convicted last year, and Sanghera, who was convicted at a retrial, are the latest to be sentenced for their parts in the scam.
Four former Lloyds employees were sentenced in July 2017.
Courtney Ayinbode, 29, Tajinder Galsinh, 35, Molly Jones, 24, and 26-year-old Benjamin Omoregie received a combined sentence of 20 years in prison. The group used their positions in the bank to search accounts with large sums that had not been accessed recently and told the gang.
They continued by ordering new cards and altered contact details so imposters could transfer huge amounts running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
A series of bogus companies were set up to launder the money before moving it offshore so that it could not be recovered by authorities.
But the scam was spotted by the fraud detection team at Lloyds who flagged it to the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit.
One customer with more than £3 million held in the bank was spared becoming a victim when a staff member rang him up because they were suspicious.
Along with Kaur, Sanghera and the four bank staff, the gang comprised of Eddie Lakes and his associates Kushveer Raulia and Parvez Hussain. Lakes, 42, of Point Wharf in Brentford, a notorious money launderer, was jailed for five years.
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Raulia, of Gledwood Gardens, Hayes, west London, was jailed for seven years and Hussain, 50, has been sentenced for six years.
Glyn Whittick, temporary detective chief inspector of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, said: “This was a highly organised gang that used corrupt bank staff to target customers and then launder the stolen frauds through business accounts.
“This sentencing shows that both the criminal gangs directly responsible for fraud and those who assist them will be tracked down and punished.
“In particular, this sends a strong message that setting up an account and allowing it to be used by fraudsters is a serious crime that can result in a lengthy prison sentence.”