Hull gangmaster conned paperboy into taking over shop in bid to escape £1.5m crime assets bill
A GANGMASTER gave away his newsagent's shop to a paperboy to avoid handing over £1.5m from his criminal empire.
Kuldip Singh was jailed for three months for contempt of court after conning paperboy Dale Dixon, 18, into taking over his shop in Lowgate, Sutton.
The teenager, who earned just over £3 an hour delivering papers for Singh, thought his luck was in when Singh offered to pay him £1,000 to take over his shop and become a director.
But Singh, of Kingswood, was trying to hide his assets to con financial investigators into believing he had no money.
CAR KEYS AND REMOTES "FREE REMOTE KEY FOB BATTERY" 01482 423414 ...View details
FOR ALL YOUR CAR KEY NEEDS CALL US NOW ON
SNAPPED KEYS, LOST KEYS, KEYS LOCKED IN VEHICLES,
WE ALSO REPAIR 90% OF ALL REMOTES AND KEYS, NO FIX NO CHARGE.
Terms: FREE REMOTE KEY FOB BATTERY ONE PER CUSTOMER
Contact: 01482 423414
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Prosecutor Ed Bindloss said: "Singh purported to sell his business but in effect gave away his business to paperboy Dale Dixon.
"He told him he wanted to step down and let him become the new director of the shop. Dale thought it would be a promotion and more money."
Singh, 49, had been banned from selling any of his property by the court pending a proceeds of crime hearing.
The hearing followed his conviction for supplying migrant workers to three horticultural firms in the East Riding without a licence.
The court ruled Singh had benefited from his criminal conduct to the tune of £1.5m.
But just a month before the court made its final ruling in June last year, Singh tried to sign over his shop, which was valued at more than £100,000 and was his main source of income, to his paperboy.
The paperboy only realised something was amiss when Singh tried to put his name on the water bills and asked him to sign contracts with his suppliers.
The sports science student refused because he did not have a bank account.
Singh claimed he did it because of the "bad publicity" surrounding his gangmaster conviction and denied a charge of contempt of court.
But, after hearing evidence, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, sitting at Hull Crown Court, found him guilty, describing it as a "crude" attempt by Singh to conceal his assets.
He said: "It was not a sophisticated enterprise but it was utterly deliberate.
"One month before your hearing, you endeavoured in a very meaningful way to dispense of your business, you made a paperboy a director of your business.
"You have given me an entirely bogus explanation as to why you did that.
"It must be made very clear that any individual who breaches a restraining order that an immediate sentence of imprisonment is highly likely. If word gets about that the court doesn't take this seriously, then it will encourage individuals like yourself, who have been thoroughly dishonest, to be even more dishonest.
"In my judgment, an immediate custodial sentence is demanded.
"You have been thoroughly dishonest. This wholly bogus enterprise had to be ascertained by financial investigators."
The court heard Singh made £1,562,970 through his crimes but has £314,138 in assets. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, he has been ordered to sell his business, his family land in India and six cars to pay back the money he made through his crimes.
Singh, of Rivelin Park, Kingswood, has failed to repay the money and now faces another hearing next month where he could be jailed for a further three and a half years in prison for default of payment.
Singh was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, in 2009 after admitting offences under the Gangmaster Licensing Act.
Singh was brought to justice after an investigation by the UK Border Agency Immigration Crime Team into his activities.
They discovered Singh had illegally supplied workers to three East Riding firms through his companies Diamond Employment Agency and Opiecare Ltd between November 2006 and June 2008.
He had applied for a gangmaster licence but, although his application was refused, he continued to supply workers illegally.