A young estate agent working for a multi-branch sales and lettings agency in Essex changed his name by deed plot to ‘Mr Irish Dog Foods’ in order to help to cash stolen cheques, a court has heard.
Inner London Crown Court heard that George Sourou, 23, along with three co-defendants each from London and the South East had become ‘money mules’ in order to cash missing cheques issued by supermarket Aldi to various food and household goods suppliers.
The court case has at times taken a bizarre twist as the four defendants have been accused of changing their names to mimic the names of several Aldi suppliers including Canadian food company Biscuits Leclerk, bin liners manufacturer Kordis and canned food manufacturer Shaper Hagaart, among others.
The four defendants did not know each other and the judge in the case has taken into account their secondary roles in the criminal enterprise.
Sourou is accused of receiving a cheque for £17,833 of which £9,995 was recovered after his arrest. The three other defendants in the case cashed cheques worth a total of £47,800, taking the group’s haul to £65,783 before the frauds were detected and subsequent cheques were blocked.
The prosecution revealed that all the offences were committed against HSBC bank who provided banking services to Aldi. All four have admitted entering into a money laundering arrangement and acquiring criminal property.
They were each handed six-month suspended sentences and ordered to carry out between 80 and 120 hours unpaid work.