A former Pendle councillor has been ordered to pay £144,552 by a proceeds of crime hearing – or face a default prison sentence.
Mohammed Ansar (51), of St Paul’s Road, Nelson, who served as a Labour councillor for Whitefield ward between 1999 and 2003, was originally jailed for 10 months in 2011 for money laundering.
Those charges arose when police were investigating the ill-gotten gains of two of Ansar’s sons, who had been convicted of drug dealing and jailed.
At the original hearing, Burnley Crown Court was told an extensive financial inquiry had taken place and uncovered St Paul’s Properties, a name with a bank account, which had been set up to evade paying tax.
This was opened in December, 2001 and was dormant for nearly a year.
Ansar became a signatory and all cheques were signed by him alone.
It was claimed the business operated from an office in Every Street, nelson, above a small factory but this was no more than a letter box for the business.
At the hearing at Burnley on Tuesday, Ansar was given six months to pay the cash or face a default sentence of two years and six months.
Det. Insp. Andy Ellis from the Lancashire Constabulary Proceeds of Crime Unit said: “I am happy with the fact that we have finally been able to get back the money that Mohammed Ansar illegally amassed, after a long investigation that originally started in 2007.
“POCA seizures allow us to take back cash from offenders which they have gained through their criminal behaviour.
“We can seize cash, cars and even a person’s home if it is thought these items were used to facilitate carrying out crime or were bought with illegal profits.
“I hope this sends out a warning, if we find you with cash that you cannot account for, you will be targeted and we will seize back the money you have made no matter how long it takes.”