A MONEY launderer who handled transactions worth millions of pounds - believed to be the proceeds of a fake cigarette racket - has been locked up for three years.
Mark Lawson, aged 44, was caught when he was stopped by police in his Seat Leon on Darton Lane, Barnsley, during a routine patrol.
Police found £16,975 in a carrier bag stashed in the footwell of his car along with two mobile phones.
Acting Detective Inspector Guy Hewson from South Yorkshire Police, said Lawson couldn’t account for the money so officers raided his home on Church Street, Mapplewell, Barnsley.
There they discovered £27,802 in a carrier bag at the back of his wardrobe and a further £2,000 stashed around the house.
Officers also discovered a red notebook containing a coded ledger.
They cracked the code and discovered Lawson had made £2.1 million worth of transactions in just five months from June to November 2009.
DI Hewson said: “The ledger mentioned certain cigarette brands having been deposited and supplied.
“It was obvious the list was monies owed and collected. The names on the list tallied with nicknames on one of the mobile phones.
“He was working for an organised crime group which dealt in counterfeit cigarettes.”
DI Hewson said there was no evidence of huge amounts of money passing through.
“He lived in a nicely decorated terraced house. He wasn’t living a lavish lifestyle,” he said.
Lawson admitted one count of money laundering at Sheffield Crown Court and was jailed for three years.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will take place in the coming months to seize assets deemed to be the proceeds of Lawson’s crimes.