ONE of the men at the centre of a South Yorkshire counterfeit cigarette ring has been ordered to pay back tens of thousands of pounds.
Sheffield Crown Court has given Mark Lawson, aged 46, just six months to pay back £89,757 he made as a bookkeeper for an illegal racket to avoid spending more than a year in jail.
Police arrested Lawson, from Barnsley, in November 2009 on suspicion of money laundering.
Officers searching his car and home recovered more than £47,000 along with a ledger hand-written notes which identified that more than £2million was transacted through the ledger accounts in over five months of that year.
Lawson appeared at Sheffield Crown Court on April 7, 2011, where he pleaded guilty to one offence of money laundering and he was sentenced to three years in prison.
Immediately following sentencing, an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act into Lawson’s lifestyle and assets began.
He was brought back in front of a judge when a confiscation order was made against him. Lawson, of Church Street, Mapplewell, will be forced to spend another 18 months behind bars if he cannot cough up the cash.
Graham Wragg, economic crime manager for South Yorkshire Police said: “While we never recovered any of the contraband or counterfeit cigarettes from Lawson he was clearly heavily involved by laundering the profits.”