Just to give you a breather after that last post, which taxed your brain cells, this time I am looking at the other end of the spectrum. I was watching “Look East” a few days ago, which is our local after-the-news news programme, and up popped a story about a drug dealer in Bedfordshire. Although a dab hand at the dealing, he was obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer, as he took his cash takings and buried them under the patio in plastic bags. And then, whiling away his time in prison, he became concerned that the bags might not be waterproof enough… So he asked his wife, mother and sister to dig it all up and hide it indoors. They were caught, and all three women are now serving time – for money laundering. “Surely not,” said my husband. “That’s not laundering – they didn’t do anything with the money.” After years – nay, decades – of listening to me describing complicated and dastardly laundering schemes, he had forgotten that the main laundering offence is that of “concealing” the proceeds of crime, which includes hiding it under the patio.
A second example was publicised last week, when the National Crime Agency announced the imprisonment for money laundering of two chaps who had hidden their dirty drug cash in, among other places, a chest of drawers. (Or, as they are known in my family, Chester drawers – my granny thought that’s where they came from.)
So yes, “concealing” can mean the use of the most highfalutin financial instruments by the most cunning professionals in the most secretive jurisdictions – or it can mean shoving it down the back of the sofa. PoCA will get you either way.