TWO Blackburn men who laundered money as part of a stolen car parts ring have been jailed Police said Shoayb Patel, 26, of Crompton Place, and Arif Gorji, 31, of Granville Road, headed the ‘highly-organised criminal enterprise’, which involved the theft of more than £600,000 worth of cars, and the resale of their parts to innocent buyers through eBay and other sale websites.
Patel was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for money laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and Gorji two years and eight months in prison.
Ayas Patel also admitted allowing his personal bank account to be used in the money laundering racket.
He told Manchester Crown Court he did not know it was being used to sell £18,000 worth of stolen car parts on the online auction site eBay.
The 30-year-old, of Derby Street, Bolton, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work.
Two other men, Jose Joaquim, 36, and Helder Santos, 33, both of Willmore Crescent, Leicester, had also been found guilty of money laundering offences follow-ing an earlier trial and sentenced to two years jail.
The court was told in October, 2010, police stopped a Ford Transit van in Wythenshawe. Joaquim and Santos were in the van and were arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle.
Following a police raid at Millbrook Industrial Estate, in Wythenshawe, it bec- ame clear it was being used to store car parts, which were then sold online.
Further searches were carried out by Greater Manchester, Leicestershire and Lancashire Police, at homes and businesses. Car chassis and parts were found. Gorji was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. He confirmed his business partner was Shoayb Patel, who was friends with Ayas Patel. In March, 2011, a raid was carried out at an industrial unit in Black-burn and Gorji and Shoayb Patel were found loading a large heavy goods vehicle, bound for Germany, with car parts.
DC Ashley Matthias, from Greater Manchester Police’s Organised Crime Unit, said: “They had no regard for those innocent members of the public who were buying stolen parts from them, or for the victims of the burglaries from where the majority of the stolen vehicles originated. We hope operations such as this demonstrate that we will continue to try and make people feel safer in their homes.”