South Scotland

Dumfries car dealer Michael Handley jailed for money laundering

Michael Handley Image copyright Other
Image caption A judge said Michael Handley had been involved in a "sophisticated scam"

A Dumfries second hand car dealer who used his business to launder £150,000 gained from criminal activity has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Michael Handley, 39, committed the offence through Lochthorn Car Sales in Locharbriggs between May 2003 and December 2006.

Judge Lord Turnbull described the operation as a "sophisticated scam".

Handley's sentence will run from the end of a six-year jail term he is currently serving for assault.

At the High Court in Glasgow, the judge told him: "You have pled guilty to a serious offence.

"You facilitated money laundering by individuals involved in organised crime and you did this for three-and-a-half years.

"This was a sophisticated scam using false accounting and you show no remorse, and when speaking to a social worker preparing a background report tried to downplay your involvement."

Solicitor advocate Liam O'Donnell revealed that Handley is also being pursued by HMRC for a tax bill of £380,000.

Falsified records

Mr O'Donnell added: "He accepts that criminal property, some of which may have included tax evasion by others, was introduced into his business."

Prosecutors had previously told the court that Handley ran the car sales operation in three ways.

The first involved legitimate business which was accurately recorded.

The second involved falsified records, while the third was cash-only with no records kept.

Advocate depute Murdoch McTaggart, prosecuting, said: "In some cases the person who had bought the car did not exist or the person knew nothing of the car and had never owned it."

Handley faces a further hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act in April.

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