Man who led ‘double life’ caught in Sheffield with over £1 MILLION linked to organised crime in his car
A money-launderer has been jailed after he was caught by police in Sheffield with over £1m in his car which was linked to organised crime.
Sheffield Crown Court heard on March 18 how Torick Akram, aged 36, of Hesley Bar, Thorpe Hesley, Rotherham, was caught by police in Sheffield with over £1m in a suitcase in his vehicle.
Judge Graham Reeds QC said Akram was caught with a large amount of cash in his car in May, 2020, with a specialised encrypted phone normally used for privacy and often used in connection with organised criminal gangs.
He added the phone revealed communications that showed Akram was an ‘enthusiastic and fastidious’ collector of stored cash over a period of time for a wage and under the management of a debt by an organised gang.
Judge Reeds added that over £1m was found in Akram’s car and a further substantial amount of cash, valued at many thousands of pounds, was found in the basement of the defendant’s house along with counting machines and makeshift ledgers.
He told Akram: “I treat you as a collector. A voluntary part of a criminal organised gang. You weren’t the head of the group but you were a well-paid employee.”
Judge Reeds added: “The money-laundering operation you were part of was sophisticated and was potentially used to launder vast amounts of money.”
Married, father-of-two Akram pleaded guilty to concealing, disguising, converting, transferring or removing criminal property, namely cash, by means of transporting the money concealed in a suitcase in a vehicle.
The court heard how Judge Reeds understood that Akram was in debt but he said the defendant had agreed to take on the collector role and had been operating as a trusted, professional at a high-level receiving a wage to reduce any debt.
Akram led a double-life where he appeared to be of good character, according to the court, but Judge Reeds stressed the nature of his offending meant it was essential the defendant appeared outwardly respectable.
Judge Reeds sentenced Akram to four-and-a-half years behind bars.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing is scheduled for January 17, 2022.