A businessman from North Yorkshire who helped fraudsters to launder more than half a million pounds, has been jailed for 2 years following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Ian David Smith (67) from Cropton in Pickering admitted helping criminals hide their illicit profits by falsely putting them through the books of his family luxury cottage rental and horse and carriage businesses in an attempt to make the cash look legitimate.
His customers included a gang of convicted tobacco smugglers and a prolific mortgage fraudster, who he helped by purchasing property and vehicles using the illicit cash. Smith provided his ‘clients’ with fake invoices, putting the money through the company books to make it look as though they had paid for goods. The monies would then be paid back to the criminals at a later date, after taking a fee for his role in the transaction.
Assistant Director for HMRC Martin Brown said:
“Ian Smith helped career criminals launder their illicit gains. He risked everything in exchange for money and as a result is paying the price for becoming involved in the criminal underworld. Money laundering is a serious crime and HMRC is committed to tackling the movement of criminal profit. Money is the lifeblood of crime and we will look to prosecute anyone involved in helping to hide dirty cash.”
Smith, who lives in a £3million farmhouse estate in North Yorkshire, runs a number of successful family businesses, including Beckhouse Carriages based in Stockton upon Tees, which provides luxury horse and carriages for weddings, funerals, feature films and television dramas. He also owns a luxury cottage rental business based in his hometown of Cropton, North Yorkshire.
Smith was arrested in September 2007 following an investigation by HMRC and pleaded guilty to money laundering at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court in May 2012.
Sentencing today His Honour Judge James said:
“Without people like you criminals would not be able to hide their profits and you fell prey to temptation”.