Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Former Shell petrol garage boss jailed in $7.8 million BEC scam

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A former Shell garage boss, jailed for a $7.8m money laundering, fraud used some of the cash to fund a lavish lifestyle in Dubai and Australia.

Gwynedd man Michael Kinane was jailed today for seven years eight months after admitting being part of a plot, uncovered by the FBI and North Wales Police, to target a London-based pharmaceutical investment company and a US-based investment company.

At the time of the fraud in November 2018 he was known by his birth name which is Ravindra Chathurangana Sarathchandra.

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He changed his name via deed poll and obtained a new passport in this name. The Sri Lankan born British citizen moved to North Wales from Scotland.

Using his new passport Kinane visited Dubai in early December 2018 arriving in Australia via Singapore on New Year’s Eve.

Friends and workmates of the 41-year-old of High Street, Porthmadog knew him as Rahul and Caernarfon Court heard at around this time they noticed his extravagant spending which was totally out of character.

He gave up the franchise at the Shell garage in Porthmadog and although his address was still in the High Street he would be away for several weeks at a time.

Kinane was said to have spent significant sums of a television set, a leather jacket and designer sunglasses as well as an expensive Tag Heuer watch valued at £4,500.

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After years of driving a VW van he turned up in Porthmadog at one stage driving a white Mercedes car.

But his short spell of leading the high life was about to come to an end when was arrested by North Wales Police officers at Gatwick Airport having flown into from Turkey last August.

Kinane initially denied the offences but later pleaded guilty and was jailed today at Caernarfon Crown Court.

Speaking after the hearing Detective Chief Inspector Brian Kearney said: “Fraud is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK.

“In the last crime reporting year there were over 4,600 frauds in North Wales reported to Action Fraud representing an £8.9m loss

“With a significant increase of fraud now being committed online this enables fraudsters to exploit victims remotely, often from another country.

“This case has been solved because of the support we have received from the companies concerned, the work of the FBI in their parallel investigation.

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“Significant funds, in excess of $1.6m have been recovered by the National Crime Agency Financial Investigation Unit.”

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