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Two St Helens men sentenced over money laundering scam

From left, Mark Dillon, Syed Abbas, Ryan McDowell, Robert Sloan and Muhammed Ikram
From left, Mark Dillon, Syed Abbas, Ryan McDowell, Robert Sloan and Muhammed Ikram
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A money laundering gang, which included two men from St Helens, have been jailed for a total of 11 years.

The case follows an operation by detectives from Matrix Serious and Organised Crime Unit, and centred on three cash seizures from 2014, totalling over £230,000.

The six men sentenced are:

33-year-old Ryan McDowell from The Meadows, Rainhill was sentenced to five years imprisonment for money laundering offences

55-year-old Mark Dillon from East Orchard Lane, Fazakerley was sentenced to two years and two months for money laundering offences

46-year-old Robert Sloan from Steeple View, Kirkby was sentenced to 12 months for money laundering offences, to be served concurrently with his current sentence

46-year-old Muhammed Ikram from High Street North, East Ham, London was sentenced to two years and four months for money laundering offences

56-year-old Syed Abbas from Corporation Road in Newport was sentenced to one year and four and a half months for money laundering offences

29-year-old Ashleigh Garrett from Martin Close, Rainhill was sentenced to 26 weeks sentence suspended for two years, two year supervision order and 150 hours unpaid work for money laundering offences

McDowell and Dillon were evidenced in being involved in all three cash seizures, organised by McDowell.

On 13 June 2014, Sloan was tasked by McDowell to transport a suitcase containing £93,365 cash to Manchester where he was seen to hand it to Ikram. Sloan is currently serving a six year prison sentence in relation to separate offences.

Following this handover, Ikram and Abbas were then observed to travel to a branch of HSBS where he deposited £11,370 in cash before being arrested by officers from Greater Manchester Police. He was found to be in possession of a further £6,520 in cash.

A search warrant was later executed at the home address of Ikram and Abbas, as a result of which the suitcase containing £93,365 was recovered along with a further £26,375 cash from a safe within the premises.

Banking records recovered from the address identified that between February and June 2014, Ikram and Abbas had been responsible for depositing £172,918 in cash to various bank accounts as part of a ‘Hawala’ money laundering network.

Examination of banking records subsequently obtained in relation to various accounts held by either McDowell or his partner Garrett also identified that between December 2013 and May 2016 a further £104,420 in cash had deposited to these accounts.

Det Chief Insp Steve Reardon said: “This was a long-running and complex investigation, which centred on the suspected involvement of McDowell and others in serious and organised crime, and the laundering of the large-scale proceeds of this crime.

“Working with specialist financial detectives, and closely alongside partners and various police forces, we were able to prove this conspiracy and in doing so, take organised criminals from the streets, who are intent to cause misery in Merseyside and beyond.

“Merseyside Police is committed to serious and organised crime so I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone who has any information about serious organised crime to come forward and tell us.

“If you let us know, I can assure you we will take positive action and help you to improve your community.”

Anyone with information on suspected drug supply in your community is asked to contact local officers, call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. You can also use their online form anonymously: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.