Money launderer is to repay PS800k to firm.
Byline: Huw Silk Reporter email@example.com
ALMOST PS800,000 confiscated from a sports fan and former child chorister who was convicted of money laundering has been seized by the authorities.
Gareth Child, 41, was jailed for four years in 2013 after being convicted of fraud and of money laundering almost PS7.8m. Of that there was a total recoverable amount of PS798,793.89.
At a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Newport Crown Court yesterday Child heard prosecutors attempt to argue there was a further PS340,000 which had been withdrawn and was "unexplained" - and which Child still had access to.
But a judge accepted there was nothing to prove that Child, of Cardiff, had any other hidden assets.
Child was ordered to pay the full amount which had been retained by police - the PS798,793.89 - in compensation to Westland Helicopters, a company which had been defrauded of PS1.3m by Child's actions.
Child had written to the firm on the pretence of being from suppliers Serco, claiming it had changed its bank details. Westland subsequently paid the money to Child rather than Serco.
As well as that instance of fraud Child had engaged in the large-scale moneylaundering operation in which he took sums - sometimes in the tens of thousands of pounds - for his work.
But he was described by his defence counsel, Nigel Ingram, as "no mastermind" of the operation. "He was a tool to be used and he was used," Mr Ingram added.
And the barrister asked Judge Patrick Curran, QC, to accept there were no additional hidden assets.
When asked by prosecutors how he had been funding his life since being freed from jail Child, who was released in May last year, told the court he had until recently been working via an agency within the food industry.
He also revealed he had a job interview on Friday, and said he had been supported by his mother and other relatives.
Child added: "All in all my expenditure has reduced considerably."
Judge Curran called parts of Child's story "preposterous" but said he would not make an additional order on the basis there was any other cash he had access to.
"I will accept the explanation," the judge said. "Preposterous though many of the matters referred to by Mr Child are, those are the matters which were reflected by his conviction.
"The whole basis of the jury's verdict is that he was money laundering for profit.
"It seems to me to be illogical to take the view that the whole of the principal sum which was used to convert into cash by others for a commission remains in his hands. That seems to me to fly in the face of common sense.
"He being someone who spent money extremely foolishly, it seems to me that such commissions he did receive were spent foolishly.
"It is unsatisfactory but so many matters of this nature are unsatisfactory."
The figure of PS798,793.89 must be handed over within three months or Child faces a new five-year prison sentence.
In reality, though, because police seized that sum it is likely to be processed almost immediately.
Gareth Child was jailed for four years