South Scotland

Dumfries car dealer Michael Handley laundered crime cash

High Court in Glasgow
Image caption Sentence was deferred on Handley at the High Court in Glasgow

A second hand car dealer from Dumfries has admitted hiding criminal gains of £150,000 through his business.

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

He is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for assault to injury and danger of life.

At the High Court in Glasgow, sentence was deferred until next month for background reports.

Advocate depute Murdoch McTaggart, prosecuting, said Handley operated his business 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.

Mr McTaggart said: "Criminal property was used to purchase cars for cash.

"The majority - 76 cars - were purchased for cash at Central Car Auctions in Glasgow.

"A number of other cars were purchased from other sellers for cash."

Fictitious purchase

He said the cars which had been bought with criminal property were mixed with the legitimate stock of used cars at Lochthorn Car Sales.

"If one of these cars was sold to a cash buyer then no record was made of this sale in the accused's business records," he added.

The court heard that during a lengthy police investigation it was discovered that in some cases a fictitious purchase history was recorded.

Mr McTaggart added: "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."

Judge Lord Turnbull deferred sentence on Handley until next month for background reports.

Solicitor advocate Liam O'Donnell, defending, will give his plea in mitigation then.

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

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