A mother-of-three has been jailed for 12 months after the Crown Court ruled that she was guilty of money-laundering offences.
Mrs Beverley Lee, 40, had handled the accounts for her husband’s building firm for a number of years. However, her husband – Mr Joseph Lee – had acted illegally throughout his career by obtaining tens of thousands of pounds illicitly from elderly and vulnerable victims. Mr Lee, 39, was the “ring-leader” of a gang of rogue traders who preyed upon potentially vulnerable victims. Mr Lee’s company – JHL Global Property Management Ltd – would carry out poor-quality building works for these people and then charge them huge amounts of money. The entire scam is believed by police to have earned up to £700,000 for those participating in it and it is further estimated that at least 100 people in Cambridgeshire fell victim to it. Mr Lee was convicted in November 2012 of conspiracy to defraud at least 17 people and was jailed for seven years. Seventeen people have already appeared in court regarding charges of money-laundering, conspiracy to defraud and fraud. It is believed that two people are still facing sentence.
Mrs Lee had denied three separate counts of money-laundering. She stated that she would not have been handling the accounts for the business at all but her husband was illiterate and needed someone that he trusted to handle them. It is believed that Mrs Lee laundered up to £25,000 through the building firm before the police conducted a two-year investigation into the matter. However the jury was not convinced of her defence and convicted her on all three counts of money-laundering. She apparently sobbed as her criminal defence lawyer, Mr Nick James, told the court how the prison sentence would impact on her children, particularly as her husband was already in jail for the offence of conspiracy to defraud (as above).
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