THE FORMER chairman of a UK group that represents the payment services industry has been sentenced for an offence in connection with the laundering of the proceeds of an investment fraud worth £850,000 and involving more than 60 victims.
Dominic Thorncroft, aged 56, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months at Southwark Crown Court in relation to one count of failing to alert the authorities to money laundering, one count of breaching money laundering regulations and four counts of retaining a wrongful credit.
Thorncroft is a former chair of the Association of UK Payment Institutions who worked with lawmakers and financial regulators alike in providing anti-money laundering advice and training.
Thorncroft held himself to be an anti-money laundering expert whose role was to protect members of the public and businesses from economic crime. However, he was a professional enabler to fraudsters, allowing his business to transfer their criminal proceeds abroad.
An investigation conducted by the Metropolitan Police Service, and which began in 2016, found evidence that linked Thorncroft to an investment fraud which took place in 2014. This investigation revealed that Thorncroft had allowed his Money Service Bureau business to be used by fraudsters to transfer money to Hong Kong and China.
Failure to alert
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police were able to prove that Thorncroft should have known (or suspected) that the money passing through his business’ bank accounts was criminal property. However, Thorncroft failed to alert the authorities to the suspicious activity and allowed it to continue.
Stephane Pendered, prosecutor for the CPS’ Specialist Fraud Division, said: “Dominic Thorncroft did not commit the fraud himself. However, his actions have allowed £850,000 defrauded from 60 different individuals to be dispersed around the world.”
Pendered added: “Thorncroft promoted himself as an anti-money laundering expert, but then failed to live up to the standards he set for others. When his business was clearly being used to launder criminal property, he failed to follow his own advice and report what was happening to the authorities.”
The CPS is committed to continue to work alongside law enforcement to bring prosecutions where professional enablers are seen to assist criminals in this way. The CPS is also committed to working more widely with banks, businesses, charities and beyond to help educate others such that they can avoid becoming the victims of economic crime.
Specialist Fraud Division
This case was prosecuted by the Specialist Fraud Division of the CPS, itself comprised of a dedicated prosecuting team which deals with the most serious, complex and difficult economic crime cases, including those involving suspected corruption and money laundering.