Mastermind of £300k Canterbury money-laundering gang jailed
by Paul Hooper
The mastermind behind a Canterbury-based crime gang that netted
nearly £300,000 has been jailed for five years.
Evaldas Ziogas led an "eastern European organised crime group",
setting up a fake company to launder cash for more than four
The 31-year-old Lithuanian used fake passports in dozens of
names to obtain bank accounts and credit cards – used to rip off
casinos, high street stores, petrol stations and banks.
And the cheeky conman even ordered goods from B&Q, Argos and
Abbey Garden Services with fake cards – and then demand £8,000
compensation saying he had been the victim of fraud.
Ziogas, of Lower Chantry Lane, Canterbury, also opened his
own Russian-themed restaurant in Margate called CCCP.
Eunice Shang-Simpson, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown
Court how he was arrested in December 2010 for money
That related to him setting up a building business account in
the name of Stone GB Ltd, based in St Stephens Road, Canterbury, in
"We say that it is apparent that there was no evidence of any
trading activity such as would be expected in a legitimate business
but that it was merely a vehicle for laundering the proceeds of
crime," the prosecutor added.
The court heard that during the time Stone GB was in operation,
"just under" £160,000 was paid into its accounts. It was closed in
"By the time the bank account was closed the following year, the
funds had been transferred in small credits to numerous individuals
– purporting to be Lithuanians apparently living in the UK."
"You are a career criminal who specialises in the fraudulent obtaining of bank accounts and credit cards... all of which you are the architect of..." – Judge Simon James
Career criminal Ziogas had also set up accounts in his
Lithuanian parents' names to launder even more money – with schemes
including buying £50,000 of fuel with 19 fake accounts and
setting up bank accounts to defraud casinos.
He even brought them over from Sialu to the UK so they could
withdraw £12,000 and then £7,000 from accounts. They had claimed to
have worked at the Jalsha Indian Restaurant, in Canterbury – which
After being arrested, officers discovered two wedding rings at
his home in Boelyn Court that had been bought at Cornells
Jewellers in Canterbury using two of his fake aliases in July
Detectives who raided his Canterbury home discovered £17,940
under a kick plate in the kitchen and in a brown envelope.
Richard Furlong, defending, denied Ziogas headed a criminal gang
– claiming it was "a one-man operation dreamed up while sitting
with his laptop in his living room".
"He came to the UK in 2003 thinking the grass was greener on the
other side, but found himself unable to find meaningful work. So he
came up with this idea, which he did alone.
"It was inevitable that he was going to be caught. And his luck
just ran out."
Mastermind Evaldas Ziogas
was jailed at Canterbury Crown Court
But Judge Simon James told him: "You are a career criminal who
specialises in the fraudulent obtaining of bank accounts and credit
cards, which you then utilise as vehicles for fraud and to launder
money obtained through a variety of criminal enterprises – all of
which you are the architect of."
Ziogas, who pleaded guilty to 13 fraud and money-laundering
charges, was also banned from being a company director for six
years – and told his case is to be referred to the Home Office with
the prospect of him being deported after being released from
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