Money launderer jailed
PUBLISHED: 15:03 10 November 2010
A MAN who had a stash of stolen Jamaican cash worth about £37,000 — the tenth of a robbery haul — has been jailed.
When police searched an industrial estate unit rented by Thomas Ramdas, 59, of Evenden Road, Meopham, they found drums of Jamaican dollars with a face value of $4,840,000, Maidstone Crown Court heard recently.
Sentencing him to 21 months imprisonment for money laundering, Judge Griffith-Jones, said: “Those who engage in money laundering to any significant degree commit serious offences which demand a prison sentence.”
He added: “You played a knowing and integral part in removing these coins from this country to get them to Jamaica.
“I do not assume that you were acting alone and were not to keep the full benefit of the money, but you were acting to take a profit. My judgement therefore is that a prison sentence is demanded — nothing else will do.”
Police with a warrant on November 26, 2008, searched an industrial unit on the Newington Industrial Estate in Newington near Sittingbourne.
They found five sealed blue plastic 45-gallon drums which each contained sealed bags of Jamaican $20 coins.
Ramdas, who denied the offence, was renting the industrial unit at the time, was arrested that same day on suspicion of money laundering.
The Royal Mint confirmed that in September, 2000, a shipment of 600 boxes of Jamaican $20 coins worth a total of $48,000,000 had been stolen from a freight yard in Newport, Gwent, South Wales, whilst in transit to Jamaica.
Officials confirmed the bags of coins recovered were part of the original stolen load.
During a three-day trial Ramdas claimed he had no idea what the drums contained but that he had been storing them for around three years on behalf of a now deceased relative.
He claimed he had only discovered the coins when he opened one drum about a week before his arrest, although he admitted he did not think about reporting it to police at this stage
A jury found him guilty by unanimous verdict after deliberating for four hours and he was jailed on Wednesday.
Detective Constable Mike Prior, from the Serious Economic Crime Unit of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “I had always believed Ramdas’ account to be totally absurd and this was echoed by the trial judge.”