Woman facing jail after admitting £5m money laundering offences

·2-min read

A woman has pleaded guilty to more than £5 million worth of money laundering offences after she was stopped at Heathrow Airport with suitcases full of cash.

Tara Hanlon, 30, was held as she tried to board a flight to Dubai on October 3 2020 with more than £1.9 million in sterling notes.

The find, in five suitcases, was described at the time as the largest individual cash seizure at the border that year.

Hanlon, of Pelham Court, Leeds, appeared at Isleworth Crown Court by video-link on Thursday, wearing a powder blue jacket over a white top.

She pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to remove criminal property from England and Wales between July 13 and October 4 last year.

But she admitted three counts of removing criminal property, relating to cash amounts of £1.4 million on July 14, £1.1 million on August 10 and £1 million on August 31 last year.

Tara Hanlon, who was stopped at Heathrow Airport with suitcases full of cash
Tara Hanlon, who was stopped at Heathrow Airport with suitcases full of cash (NCA/PA)

Hanlon also pleaded guilty to attempting to remove £1.9 million in criminal cash from the country on the day she was arrested.

Prosecutor Nathan Rasiah said the charges related to three trips and one failed attempt in October.

Judge Giles Curtis-Raleigh adjourned the case for sentencing on July 26 and granted Hanlon bail.

“Obviously, it will be a prison sentence. You must be ready for that – bring a bag,” the judge told her.

NCA branch operations manager Ian Truby said: “Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime and Tara Hanlon was heavily involved in moving several million pounds out of the country.

“We are determined to do all we can to stop that flow of illicit finance and disrupt the criminal networks involved in money laundering.”

Hanlon’s arrest sparked a National Crime Agency (NCA) probe targeting a suspected network of couriers allegedly responsible for laundering more than £50 million in criminal profits.

Three men and five women, alleged to have been cash couriers who hid large amounts of money in luggage on commercial flights to Dubai from Heathrow and Manchester airports, were arrested as part of the investigation.

Around a month after Hanlon was caught, Czech national Zdenek Kamaryt, 38, was held as he tried to board a flight from Heathrow to Dubai with £1.3 million in cash in his bags.

He was jailed for two years in March after pleading guilty to money laundering offences.

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