Two men arrested in major crackdown on fraud and immigration crime

Police swoop on a north Manchester property today
Police swoop on a north Manchester property today -Credit:GMP

A major operation is underway in Manchester as officers swoop on a suspected organised crime gang linked to fraud, money laundering and illegal immigration. Greater Manchester Police has confirmed a probe into an alleged criminal network, which is believed to have made 'vast profits' by producing fake identities and businesses.

Several properties are being searched in north Manchester today (April 24) in connection with the force's crackdown on 'organised immigration crime'. So far, GMP has seized £5,000, dozens of suspected fraudulent bank cards and several documents indicating cryptocurrency assets, which the force believes form part of a wider conspiracy.

Two men, aged 41 and 59, have been arrested on suspicion of money laundering and fraud by false representation. Detective Sergeant Pete Goddard, of GMP's money laundering team, said: “Organised crime groups will take extraordinary measures to try and hide their illicit finances from us, and we believe that the suspects we have arrested today have been creating fraudulent identities and businesses in an attempt to conceal criminal proceeds.

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“It’s often sophisticated, but we have specialist financial investigators in our Economic Crime Unit to identify those involved in criminal financial activity, no matter how hard attempts are made to hide the money through various means.” GMP has described today's arrests as 'crucial'.

It comes as part of Project Asset, an initiative which targets gangs profiting from organised immigration crime. Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers were also in attendance today to identify suspects who may not only be breaking immigration law, but could also be vulnerable to exploitation.

Detective Superintendent Joe Harrop, GMP's force lead for serious organised crime, added: “Criminal networks involved in organised immigration crime are making vast sums of money from the illegal facilitation of migrants across international borders. The criminal cash is then funnelled into further forms of serious crime which directly harms our communities.

“In December 2023 we launched Project Asset which targets the illicit finances which arise from organised immigration crime. Despite being a new initiative, we have already seized thousands of pounds of suspected ill-gotten gains which in turn, will be reinvested back into our communities via the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme.

“Effective partnership work is crucial if we want to tackle the issues we are facing. In Greater Manchester Police, we have specialist taskforces working with key partners and international authorities to disrupt organised immigration crime and modern slavery.”