A U.K. money laundering prevention expert was found guilty Wednesday of allowing criminals to use his company to launder the proceeds of an £850,000 (U.S. $1.2 million) investment fraud that resulted in dozens of victims being ripped off.
Dominic Thorncroft was chair of the Association of UK Payment Institutions for 14 years and worked with lawmakers and financial regulators providing anti-money laundering advice and training. In 2014, he allowed fraudsters to use his money services business to transfer criminal proceeds from an investment scam overseas.
When police began their investigation in 2016, they found evidence on his laptop that showed Thorncroft’s company had received money from over 60 individuals who were defrauded via a telephone salesman pushing “get rich quick” schemes that did not exist. Most of that money was then transferred out of Thorncroft’s account and onto the fraudsters based in Hong Kong and China.
Thorncroft was known to have met with one of the fraud suspects and even had a copy of the suspect’s passport. He failed to disclose that information to the police despite a legal obligation—which he ought to have known about since he was also the company’s money laundering reporting officer—to do so.
He also knowingly transferred £265,000 to one of the fraudsters, despite that person being subject to a serious crime prevention order which should have prohibited them from remitting money overseas.
Thorncroft was found guilty of six charges: breaching U.K. money laundering regulations, failing to submit a suspicious activity report, and four counts of retaining unlawful credit—some £16,000 from four of the victims he helped con.
He will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on July 30.
“If Thorncroft had complied with his own company policies then he would not have been prosecuted,” said Detective Sergeant Mark Hoddinott from the Metropolitan Police Service’s specialist economic crime unit in a statement. “Instead, he paid absolutely no regards to his overriding duty to anti-money regulations. Consequently, many individuals suffered great financial loss and considerable personal trauma.”