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Kent man jailed for laundering almost £5million in Jamaican dollars
59 year old Thomas Ramdas, of Evenden Road, Meopham, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday 27 October 2010, for money laundering $4,840,000 Jamaican Dollars (the equivalent of approximately £37,000) where the judge said on sentencing: “Those who engage in money laundering to any significant degree commit serious offences which demand a prison sentence.”
On 26 November 2008, police executed a search warrant at an industrial unit on the Newington Industrial Estate in Newington near Sittingbourne, Kent. During the course of the search, police found 5 sealed blue plastic 45 gallon drums which each contained sealed bags of Jamaican $20 Dollar coins. Ramdas, who was renting the industrial unit at the time, was arrested that same day on suspicion of money laundering.
Following further police investigation, contact was made with the Royal Mint who confirmed that in September 2000 a shipment of 600 boxes of Jamaican $20 coins worth a total of $48,000,000 (Forty Eight Million) had been stolen from a freight yard in Newport, Gwent, South Wales, whilst in transit to Jamaica. Officials from the Royal Mint were able to confirm that the bags of coins found in Ramdas' industrial unit were part of the original stolen load.
In an 3 day trial at Maidstone Crown Court (which started on 25 October 2010), Ramdas had claimed that he had no idea what the drums contained but that he had been storing them for around 3 years on behalf of a now deceased relative. He claimed had only discovered the coins when he opened one drum approximately a week before his arrest, although he admitted he did not think about reporting it to police at this stage
A jury found him guilty by unanimous verdict after deliberating for 4 hours.
On sentencing, His Honour Judge Griffith-Jones said:
“You (Ramdas) were in possession of 1/10th of the total consignment, itself not an inconsiderable number of coins and that you played a knowing and integral part in removing these coins from this country to get them to Jamaica. I do not assume that you were acting alone, and were not to keep the full benefit of money, but you were acting to take a profit. My judgement therefore is that a prison sentence is demanded - nothing else will do."