North West Regional Organised Crime Unit

Four males convicted of money laundering receive welcomed sentences

Mon 09th, Jul

A former postmaster & his brother set up a money service bureau that was used as a front to launder massive sums of criminal money. They received hundreds of thousands of pounds in holdalls before using sophisticated methods to launder the funds.

A former postmaster and his brother set up a money service bureau that was used as a front to launder massive sums of criminal money.
Choudry Yahya worked in unison with his brother Shabaz Ali and three others.
Their business was a fundamental part of a serious organised crime group that took receipt of holdalls containing hundreds of thousands of pounds in criminal cash before using various sophisticated methods to launder the funds.
On the 6th of June 2018 he and two of his co-conspirators were found guilty, one had already pleaded guilty following Operation Cognac – an extensive investigation conducted by Titan the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit and Greater Manchester Police.
Yayha lived a lavish lifestyle and paid tens of thousands of pounds so that family members could enjoy a private education - despite providing false declarations to HMRC, allowing them to claim tax credits for low income.
But the criminal empire was built on shaky foundations, and when officers observed the gang’s base at an industrial unit on Arrow Trading Estate, Audenshaw, the conspiracy began to unravel.
In September 2014, officers watched co-conspirator Abid Hassan drive a hired car to the industrial unit in Audenshaw having taken receipt of a large bag from a known criminal following a meeting at a supermarket in Hyde.
Two further bags were delivered to the unit later the same day before Yahya and Mustafa Boztas left the unit and got into Yahya’s Mercedes.
The following day, Yahya locked his car doors after being stopped by police on Chester Road. Officers smashed the windows to apprehend him and found £250,000 in cash in bin bags on the rear seat of the vehicle.
Further enquiries led police to a car driven by Abid Hassan, which contained a holdall containing £300,000.
An hour later, Detectives seized a Citroen Picasso which was parked on a side street in Trafford, it was found to contain £270,000 in cash.
Defendants were found in possession of cash totalling more than £818,000, with a further £29,604 in cash recovered from premises linked to the gang.
Upon arrest, Yahya was found to be carrying a business card linking him to SINA Exchange Ltd, a money service bureau on Stockport Road, Longsight.
The premises were previously the home of Slade Lane Post Office, which was a business operated by Yahya before it closed in 2009.
Officers from Titan and GMP raided the property and found Shahbaz Ali and Mustafa Boztas hiding inside.
Officers found significant evidence of money laundering and fraud. The pair were in possession of a handwritten note which listed items of incriminating evidence to be disposed of.
Boztas and Ali had gone to the premises after learning of Yahya’s arrest in a last ditched attempt to cover their tracks.
The Economic Crime Team of Titan examined the suspects financial records, they sifted through the business documents and during the investigation they exposed shell companies, large scale identity fraud, forged passports and simple money transfers attributable to over 50 assumed identities. These identities had been used to obtain money transfer cards. Which allowed expedited transfers in the stolen identities.
SINA Exchange was set up simply as a conduit to allow the transfer of funds via money transfers around the world.
Evidence showed that on the money transfer cards alone, over 600 transactions were completed, showing that transfers totalling £490,855.17 GBP were sent to Pakistan.
Restraint orders are now in place and the Police will actively seek confiscation of the gangs assets.

Choudry Yahya of Manchester Road Audenshaw was found guilty of money laundering was sentenced to 12 years
Shahbaz Ali of Manchester Road Audenshaw was found guilty of money laundering fraud and perverting the course of justice and sentenced to 9.5 years.
Mustafa Boztas of Quebec Road Ilford Essex was found guilty of Perverting the course of Justice and sentenced to 30 months.
Abid Hassan of St Anns Road South Heald Green Stockport) pleaded guilty to money laundering, and was sentenced to 35 months.