A money launderer who conducted his business using an encrypted phone has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison following an investigation by the Organised Crime Partnership, a joint initiative between the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service.
The sentence comes as a result of NCA’s Operation Venetic, a large scale crackdown on criminal use of encrypted communications platform Encrochat.
Richard Oliffe, 34 of Beckenham, Kent had been using Encrochat to communicate with fellow criminals to arrange the laundering of criminal cash over a period of at least two months. He also used the platform to buy cocaine which he then sold on.
Oliffe appeared at Southwark Crown Court yesterday, 05 March, where he received a sentence totalling five years and six months for his role in this offending and a unrelated fraud.
Operation Venetic uncovered various conversations between Oliffe and other criminals facilitating the exchange of up to £50,000 at a time which Oliffe said that he would then launder through associates in Dubai. The messages illustrated that the initial exchanges of £50,000 were done to build trust so that Oliffe could then begin laundering amounts between £200k and £500k. There was also discussion of a criminal associate who was looking for somebody to launder £4m for them.
Messages also showed that Oliffe was engaged in the supply of cocaine.
On 25 September 2020, Oliffe was arrested at Euston Train Station in possession of a bag containing £34,960. He was later charged with money laundering by OCP officers.
Officers searching Oliffe’s house in Hayes, Kent and found small amounts of cocaine and a £1k of cash.
Oliffe pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine and money laundering.
Matt McMillan OCP Operations Manager said “Richard Oliffe believed he could use an encrypted device to conduct his criminal activity under the radar, using it to launder large quantities and to supply cocaine.
“Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime, and money launderers like Oliffe provide an essential service, allowing criminal networks to benefit from their crime and invest in further criminality.
“Removing Oliffe from the chain will have dealt a blow to the criminal networks he worked for.
“This investigation shows the commitment of the NCA and Metropolitan Police to ensure money launderers and drug suppliers face justice.”