Money launderer who exploited elderly and vulnerable people given suspended prison sentence

Cambridge Crown Court.

Cambridge Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A money launderer who helped tricked elderly and vulnerable people out of £24,000 was given a suspended prison sentence today.

James Blake Unsworth, 27, of Park Drive, Braintree, pleaded guilty to six offences of money laundering when he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court.

Unsworth admitted six charges of converting criminal property between January and July 2011. The total amount of money involved was £24,000.

He was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment on each count, to run consecutively, suspended for 12 months, and was also ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work.

An investigation by Cambridgeshire Trading Standards into rogue trader offences committed in Cambridgeshire and Essex discovered Unsworth paid cheques from the victims into his own bank accounts, withdrawing the money in cash soon afterwards.

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The victims were all elderly and vulnerable and were pressurised into having work done on either their roof or their driveways following a cold call to their address.

They were charged considerably more than the job was worth, which in turn was often of poor quality and in most cases unnecessary.

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Unsworth admitted being present at some of the victims’ houses, but claimed he was not aware they were being ripped off.

He told the court he had no knowledge the elderly and vulnerable people were being defrauded and was merely suspicious the people he was working for were asking him to change the cheques to avoid paying tax.

Judge Jonathan Howarth told the defendant that he took into account Unsworth’s guilty plea and accepted that Unsworth had played a minor role.

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