A GANG who used bogus companies to launder £35million have been jailed for more than 73 years.
In total, 16 members of the midlands-based money laundering network have been convicted, including Gurpreet Singh Roewal, 50, from Solihull.
Crime groups across the country used the services to launder their drug money.
The National Crime Agency which spent three years investigating the operation saw the final four members of group sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday (November 23).
Harpal Singh Gill, 67, from Smethwick, who was previously a textile trader initiated, orchestrated the entire operation.
Gill set up a number of bogus clothing and textile companies so it looked like they were selling goods but actually no transactions even took place. False invoices helped them launder the money between May 2007 and May 2013.
Gill employed his friend and accountant Roewal, from Solihull, as his right hand man. He advised Gill how to stay under the radar of HM Revenue and Customs and UK Law Enforcement.
They adapted their business model to ensure they would appear to meet the minimum standards required under UK money laundering regulations. Roewal provided an air of legitimacy to the bogus companies by opening bank and trading accounts and liaising with MSBs to arrange exchange rates and the transfer of cash.
When anyone raised concerns he would close them down and set up new ones. Roewal was sentenced to eight years in March 2015.
Gill was sentenced to 11 years in prison in March at Birmingham Crown Court while his son, Manjit Gill, 40, from Edgbaston, who was a director for a number of companies was given five years.
Among the other members jailed, was mother-of-two Smita Gareja, 48, from Birmingham, who was previously of good character.
She received a 27 month sentence for willingly providing her identity as cover, never questioning the need to use her name as director for a fake business account.
She turned a blind eye to the operation believing because she was not involved in the day to day transfer of money she would not be prosecution.
His Honour Judge Bond said Gill had taken a leading role in a sophisticated money laundering arrangement which required significant planning over a period of time.
He added he was sure his son knew what he was doing was criminal and believed the £8,000 found hidden in his bedframe had been part of a reward for his work.
Paul Risby, a National Crime Agency branch commander, said Gill used his position as head of his family and as local businessman to influence family members and associates in his community to be part of his criminal enterprise.
“Gill’s network was responsible for laundering over £35 million, every single pound of which represents misery inflicted on communities locally and across the UK,” he added.