Warrants carried out to combat fraud and money laundering in the South East

A series of warrants have been executed throughout February at locations across the UK as officers took part in work to combat fraud and money laundering in the South East of England.

Officers from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), have carried out six warrants and two additional arrest attempts in coordination with partner agencies, at properties and locations in Aylesbury, Southampton, Hastings, Woking, Milton Keynes, Watford, and Stoke on Trent, making a total of seven arrests.

Seven people have been arrested, one person interviewed voluntarily and a total of 12 cease and desist orders have been issued.

A number of items relating to fraud and money laundering have also been seized, including bank material and electronic devices.

The work was part of a month of activity taking place throughout February to combat those involved in this sort of offending.

The warrants were specifically related to investigations into individuals suspected of committing laundering activity using online crypto services, with those responsible benefiting from funds obtained fraudulently.

Investigations have also taken place in relation to “money mules” – in which people allow their bank accounts to be used to send criminal money.

Detective Inspector Tom Bradshaw of SEROCU’s Proactive Economic Crime team, said: “Our work over the past month has been focused on disrupting offenders in our communities who look to gain money through fraudulent online activity.

“These sorts of crimes are abhorrent and can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. We will not tolerate these offenders and will look to tackle them at every opportunity. The activity that has taken place in February demonstrates how seriously we take this sort of offending, and should serve as a warning to those who commit it.

“Money mules’ are one of the most important enablers of fraud. Fraudsters and other criminals use multiple ‘mule’ accounts to make it harder for banks and police to track them down.

“’Mules’ usually get recruited because they are given a cut of the stolen money, meaning that they become involved in money laundering – a serious criminal offence with a maximum sentenced of 14 years in prison for the worst offenders.

“People can be taken advantage of by criminals and encouraged to allow their accounts to be used. Therefore, as well as investigating those who are criminally involved, the Proactive Economic Crime Team will visit individuals at risk of being coerced and offer support and advice.”

If you feel you are at risk, or want to find out more about how to protect yourself, visit www.moneymules.co.uk.