Two jailed in 1.8 million money laundering fraud

An accountant and a solicitor who laundered more than £1.8 million pounds of criminal cash from VAT frauds have been jailed for a total of six and a half years, after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).


Solicitor Richard Sutton Housley (57) from Edinburgh and accountant Caroline Jane Laing (55) from Denny were found guilty last month of jointly laundering over £1.8 million between February 2003 and December 2004.

Housley worked for a firm of solicitors where he was responsible, under the Proceeds of Crime Act, for reporting suspected criminal activity but was found guilty of failing to do so. He was also found guilty of falsifying employment records to avoid paying over £39,000 in income tax. 

David Odd, HMRC’s Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation in Scotland, said:

“Both Housley and Laing gave the appearance of being upstanding members of the business community but they were involved in a complex and organised money laundering fraud over a long period. Given their professions as a solicitor and an accountant, Housley and Laing knew full well that they were breaking the law. However, they chose to abuse their positions of trust for the opportunity of making what they wrongly assumed would be easy money, at the expense of the UK taxpayer. They will now pay for their criminal activities. 

“The Proceeds of Crime Act was specifically designed to make it harder for money to be laundered and to deprive criminals of their illicit wealth. It is a vital element of HMRC’s criminal investigation strategy. I urge anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud to contact HMRC on the Tax Evasion hotline on 0800 788 887. 

Tax fraud can also be reported at

The £1,836,375, which had been laundered through bank accounts, first in Greece, Cyprus and Switzerland, then by Housley and Laing through banks in the UK, was the proceeds of VAT frauds linked to European sales of computer parts. A confiscation hearing to recover the criminal proceeds of the frauds will take place on 25 March 2013 at Edinburgh High Court.

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