Beds, Herts & Bucks

Drugs boss's wife jailed over buried crime cash

Composite photo: Caterina De Filippo, Domenico Masciopinto and Palma De Filippo Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Caterina De Filippo, Domenico Masciopinto and Palma De Filippo (left to right) have been sentenced for concealing criminal proceeds

The wife of a jailed drugs ring boss who dug up his £270,000 cash stockpile to help launder it has been jailed, along with her mother and sister.

Domenico Masciopinto, 35, was sentenced to 14 years in 2012 for drug-dealing.

From prison he told his now estranged wife Giulia Masciopinto, 37, to unearth cash buried in their Bedford garden.

She has been jailed for nine months. Her mother Caterina De Filippo, 58, and sister Palma De Filippo, 28, were given 12-month sentences for helping her.

Domenico Masciopinto was sentenced to 22 months, after admitting concealing criminal property, to run consecutively to his 14-year term.

His wife also pleaded guilty to the charge, but the De Filippos, who she enlisted but who denied the accusations, were found guilty last month.

Judge Kristina Montgomery QC, sitting at Amersham Law Courts for Aylesbury Crown Court, said the Masciopintos would have been jailed for longer if they had not admitted the crime.

Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption A holdall stuffed with £237,000 was found in the loft at Harrowden Road

Cash was found by police stuffed around the Bedford homes of Giulia Masciopinto, in Redhall Close, and her mother's in Harrowden Road, in March 2013.

Officers were alerted by Masciopinto's recorded prison calls to his wife, as he feared the buried cash would perish as it was not in watertight containers.

A holdall containing £237,000 was discovered, while thousands of pounds were also found in a handbag, plastic bag and foil-wrapped bundles. Other money had been paid into bank accounts.

Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Some notes had turned mouldy after being buried in the garden
Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Bundles of cash wrapped in foil were found in a display case in Caterina De Filippo's house
Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption The cash was found after police searched the two houses in Bedford
Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption The court heard some of the cash had turned so mouldy it could no longer be used

Palma De Filippo, of High St, Acton, west London, helped by hiding some of the cash in her car boot and laundering it.

Det Insp Pushpa Guild, of Bedfordshire Police, called it a "sophisticated attempt" to hide criminal proceeds.

Police said some seized cash would go towards paying a £121,736 confiscation order, made after Masciopinto was jailed three years ago.

However, some notes were unusable as they had turned mouldy due to the way they were stashed.

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