Introduction: In this case our firm acted for 5x clients who successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal to have their custodial sentences reduced. The Judge in the Crown Court commented that “this case involved classic laundering of criminal property on behalf of an organised criminal gang” in the region of £20,000,000. The case involved complex legal and financial intricacies, and the firm’s approach and efforts played a pivotal role in significantly reducing our client’s custodial sentence so that they were released from custody on “time served.”

Sentence Summary: Clients names anonymised:-

  1. JL, a mother of two and described by the trial judge as being “at the heart” of the local operation. Her 32-month sentence was reduced to 24 months.
  2. QL, a mother of two. Her two-year term was cut from 24 months to 15 months.
  3. LQY, QL’s husband who claimed he became involved due to a gambling addiction. His sentence was reduced from 20 months to 15 months.
  4. Her 16-month prison term was cut to 10 months.
  5. His 28-month sentence was reduced to 20 months.

Background: The offences were uncovered during an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) which involved a number of UK-based financial institutions.

“This case involved classic laundering of criminal property on behalf of an organised criminal gang,” the judge told the court. “The defendants received frequent bundles of cash and followed instructions on where the funds were to be transferred.”

“The measure of the huge sums involved and the trust bestowed on each of these defendants can be gleaned from the staggering amounts of cash seized from many of the defendants when their properties or their person were searched,” the judge added.

Caught on CCTV

During the case, it emerged that a branch of Barclays bank in Belfast was being used by the defendants to make frequent large cash deposits.

They were caught on CCTV using the same bank – some on a daily basis – to lodge various amounts of money between January 2018 and July 2019.

This was done using an internal branch automated service device (ASD) that enables bank account holders to deposit cash into other accounts via the use of bank cards and PIN numbers.

Following arrests in July 2019, 10 suspects were charged with offences including converting criminal property, possessing criminal property and entering an arrangement to acquire criminal property.

The evidence against our clients included extensive financial records, CCTV, and testimonies from cooperating witnesses.

Legal Strategy:

  1. In-depth Case Analysis: The legal team conducted a meticulous review of the evidence, focusing on identifying potential weaknesses and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case.
  2. Preparing Mitigation Arguments: Recognising the seriousness of the charges and the CCTV, we worked closely with our client’s to get a firm understanding of their background, life, family links to assist with our mitigation arguments. We gathered evidence and testimonies showcasing our client’s personal background and character which ultimately justified a reduced custodial sentence.


RP Crawford & Co’s diligent efforts and strategic approach yielded significant results in the Court of Appeal. The firm successfully convinced the appellate court that our clients received sentences that were excessive:-


This case study highlights the expertise and dedication of RP Crawford & Co. in navigating complex financial crime cases. By implementing a comprehensive legal strategy, leveraging expert witnesses, and effectively advocating for our clients, the firm achieved a significant reduction in custodial sentences in a major money laundering operation. This successful outcome reinforces the firm’s reputation and demonstrates their commitment to securing justice for their clients in challenging criminal matters.