Car trader and associates found guilty of laundering stolen £1.25 million

|News, Fraud and economic crime

Three people who conspired to launder £1.25 million stolen from a business linked to a property entrepreneur have been convicted for their part in the plot.

In April 2016 a property empire received a fraudulent email authorising the transfer of £1.25 million to a bank account belonging to 50-year-old Robert Harriss, the owner of a car trading business who had no association with the company.

Harriss used some of the money to settle his own company and personal debts, then transferred the remainder to other bank accounts, some of which were held by his co-defendants Michael Thomas, 60, and William Bellamy, 33.

The prosecution was able to prove that the defendants knew the money was criminal property, and had conspired to launder the funds.

Andrew Cant, of the CPS, said: “Harriss played a key role in laundering more than £1 million from a successful business to pay the debts of his failing car company by agreeing to receive the stolen funds.

"The defendants in this case acted with greed which was made worse by their attempt to hide what they had done.

“This is a case involving deception and greed, fortunately the combined efforts of the Metropolitan Police and the CPS showed that Harriss and his associates had laundered funds taken from a private company for their own selfish gain.”

After a six week trial at Southwark Crown Court, on 25 October 2019 Harriss was convicted of conspiracy to launder criminal proceeds, Bellamy pleaded guilty to that offence part way through trial and to receiving criminal proceeds at the beginning of the trial.

Thomas had pleaded guilty to receiving criminal proceeds at the beginning of the trial.

Notes to editors

  • Andrew Cant is a specialist prosecutor for the CPS Specialist Fraud Division
  • Robert Harriss (DOB: 04/08/1969) on 24 October 2019 was found guilty of conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property. He has been sentenced to four years
  • William Bellamy (DOB: 22/12/1985) pleaded guilty to concealing, disguising, converting, transferring or removing criminal property at an earlier hearing and during the trial also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property. He has been sentenced to 27 months
  • Michael Thomas (DOB: 18/09/1959) pleaded guilty to concealing, disguising, converting, transferring or removing criminal property at an early stage in the trial. He has been sentenced to 15 months suspended for two years; 200 hours of unpaid work.

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