Man delivered £1 million to Bradford firm at centre of money laundering scheme

A man who delivered a million pounds in cash to a Bradford jewellery business at the centre of a massive money laundering scheme has been spared an immediate prison sentence.

John Chambers was one of a succession of men caught on CCTV couriering holdalls of banknotes to Fowler Oldfield in Hall Lane, Bowling.

Up to £2 million of criminal money was being processed there every day, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Chambers, 52, of Papillon Drive, Liverpool, pleaded guilty at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court in March to knowingly transferring criminal property on August 18 and 19, 2016.

Yesterday, almost four years after the police raided the building, Chambers was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years.

Prosecutor Jonathan Savage said he was caught on camera delivering £499,000 on the first occasion and £500,000 the following day.

West Yorkshire Police had set up an operation to investigate Fowler Oldfield and on September 8, 2016, the premises was raided.

Officers seized receipts, cash books and a ledger, and an analysis of the CCTV system led to the identification of “a good number of people” arriving with large quantities of cash.

Chambers had delivered the money in his Audi Q3 and he was traced by the vehicle registration number.

He was filmed dropping off two large padlocked holdalls to the gold and precious metal dealers.

Mr Savage said the cash was mostly in £20 English and Scottish banknotes.

The couriers were handed a “token,” usually a £5 note or a one dollar bill, to provide proof of delivery.

When Chambers was arrested he made no comment to the police.

The court heard in mitigation that it was “a one off incident” after he became seriously ill and his business was struggling.

He had been exploited by others and was sorry and ashamed.

Chambers had a chronic and painful illness and his family had suffered a tragic bereavement last year.

Judge Colin Burn said the case involved money laundering “on a massive scale.”

But Chambers had committed the offences more than four years ago and been assessed by the probation service as at a very low risk of reoffending.

He was suffering from a painful illness and supporting his family after their “shattering tragedy.”

Judge Burn did not attach any requirements to the suspended sentence order.

Chambers is one of a series of defendants from the Merseyside area to have been sentenced at Bradford Crown Court as part of the police investigation into Fowler Oldfield.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News