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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Yorkshire Men Jailed After Living Florida High Life on Crime Cash

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12:33pm 14th June 2013

Two men who used a cash passport account to launder money have been jailed for 21 months each at Teesside Crown Court.

Simon John Debnam, 30, of Eboracum Way, York and Carl Anthony O’Flaherty, 28, of Leysholme Crescent, Leeds, were both sentenced on 4 June 2013 after being found guilty of conspiracy to launder money following a three-day trial in March 2013.

In February 2011, North Yorkshire Police’s Financial Investigation Unit began an investigation into a Thomas Cook Cash Passport Account belonging to Debnam.

The investigation revealed he had attended Thomas Cook at Monks Cross in York, opened an account and obtained two debit cards for the account.

On ten occasions over a three-month period, he loaded a total of £16,494.68 cash in US Dollars ($27,980.00) on to the account using one of the cards.

Meanwhile, O’Flaherty held the second card and used the money in the account to fund a spending spree while taking long holidays in Orlando, Florida.

The investigation uncovered evidence of him being in the USA for extended periods of time, hiring several cars for the duration of his trips, with CCTV footage obtained from Orlando Airport showing him collecting and returning vehicles.

The cash used to fund the account was found to be the proceeds of crime. Debnam had no declared income with HM Revenue and Customs over the previous six years and O’Flaherty had very little and the court concluded that the money had been made through criminality.

Investigating Officer, Acting Detective Sergeant Toby Gorwood, said: “Living the high life funded by criminality is totally unacceptable and an insult to law-abiding, hard-working members of the public.

“Today’s sentence sends a clear message to criminals that we will leave no stone unturned to ensure they are brought to justice and their illegal lifestyles disrupted.

“The Financial Investigation Unit has specialist skills to dissect  finances and no matter how crooks try to disguise or cover up their trail of criminality, we will unpick it and bring them to justice.”

A confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will take place in the future where we will seek to deprive the pair of their illegally earned cash.

Anyone who suspects that someone is living off the proceeds of crime, do not hesitate to contact the police on 101 and we will take action.

If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can pass information to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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