A well-known and loved figure in the community that is how the court described ever-smiling Kuldip Singh. But, The UK Border Agency Immigration Crime Team discovered Singh had illegally supplied workers to three East Riding firms through his companies Diamond Employment Agency and Opiecare Ltd between November 2006 and June 2008.
The court was told that Kuldip Singh was making hundreds of thousands of pounds by supplying illegal workers to three East Riding horticultural firms without a valid licence.
Singh, then living in Kingswood, made £1,562,970 through his crimes and he was brought to the attention of the UK Border Agency, now Border Force.
He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, in 2009 after admitting offences under the Gangmaster Licensing Act.
The prosecution was the first of its kind in the country under laws brought in to protect workers from exploitation after Chinese workers drowned while collecting cockles at Morecambe Bay. Singh had applied for a gangmaster licence but, although his application was refused, he continued to supply workers illegally.
If any of the firms he supplied with workers asked to see his licence, he referred them to a colleague who did have a licence. But the arrangement was a sham as the licence did not cover Singh to supply the workers.
But Singh’s greed was to land him into further trouble and led him down a very bizarre path.
An investigation was launched into Singh’s finances under the Proceeds Of Crime Act after the prosecution which determined he needed to hand over £1.5m.
Under the act, he was ordered to sell his business, his family land in India and six cars to pay back the money he made through his crimes. In what can only be described as a moment of panic, Singh tried to hand over his shop to the paperboy.
Singh offered to pay the paperboy, who earned £3 an hour delivering papers, £1,000 to take over his shop and become a director.
Singh was trying to hide his assets to con financial investigators into believing he had no money. He had been banned from selling any of his property by the court pending a proceeds of crime hearing.
The paperboy only realised something was amiss when Singh tried to put his name on the water bills and asked him to sign contracts with his suppliers. Singh claimed he did it because of the “bad publicity” surrounding his gangmaster conviction and denied a charge of contempt of court.
But Singh was jailed for three months for contempt of court for the audacious attempt.
Still he failed to pay back the money and ended up being jailed for three and a half years for default of payment.
He also tried to avoid paying back the money by transferring the £244,363 family home on nine acres of land in India into his wife’s name.
Singh claimed his elderly mother lived on the land in India and it was only worth £7,437. However, enquiries to the British High Commission confirmed the land was worth almost £250,000.
Singh, who received British citizenship in 1985, was forced sell his business, estimated to be worth £56,750 and his six cars including valued at £9,025.