The former chairman of a UK group that represents the payment services industry has been convicted of complicity in the laundering of the proceeds of an investment fraud worth £850,000 and involving more than 60 victims.
Dominic Thorncroft, 56, was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of one count of failing to make a required disclosure, four counts of dishonestly retaining a wrongful credit and one count of failing to comply with money laundering regulations. He was acquitted of a more serious offence of transferring criminal property, as the jury could not be sure that he knew or suspected that the money passing through the account was criminal property.
Thorncroft was the former chair of the Association of UK Payment Institutions who worked with lawmakers and financial regulators providing anti-money laundering advice and training.
An investigation by the Metropolitan Police, which began in 2016, found evidence that linked Thorncroft to an investment fraud which took place in 2014. The investigation revealed that Money Service Bureau VS1 had been used by fraudsters to transfer money to Hong Kong and China. Thorncroft was a director and shareholder in the company and the nominated officer for the purposes of Money Laundering Regulations.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police alleged that Thorncroft must have suspected that the money passing through his business’s bank accounts was criminal property but failed to alert the authorities. All told, the failings cost the sixty-plus victims more than three quarters of a million pounds
Stephane Pendered of the CPS says: “Dominic Thorncroft did not commit the fraud himself. However, his actions have allowed £850,000 defrauded from 60 individuals to be dispersed across the world.
“Thorncroft promoted himself as an anti-money laundering expert but failed to live up to the standards he set for others."
In passing an 18-month suspended sentence, the Judge remarked: "This was not a one-off error of judgement. It was part of a much broader pattern of incompetence, naivety and poor business practise."