An east London woman has been ordered to forfeit £386,037 profit she made from facilitation and money laundering.
Halyna Semenikhina, a 53-year-old Ukrainian of Well Street, Hackney, is already serving a 5 year jail sentence after being found guilty of facilitating around 5 illegal immigrants into the country last year. She provided them with employment and housing, and laundered their earnings through her personal bank accounts.
Southwark Crown Court on 12 January 2012 ruled that the government will retain the money, which includes interest accrued, under the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act.
The court heard that our criminal and financial investigation team had arrested Semenikhina for facilitation whilst she was working as an area manager for Maclean Services Ltd, a major cleaning company in London.
Despite being in the UK illegally herself and not permitted to work, as an area manager Semenikhina was able to recruit and supervise her own employees and abused this position to hire people she knew to be illegally in the UK.
Investigations into Semenikhina's financial affairs revealed that she had transferred the equivalent of £1,081,566 through her bank accounts and still held more than £382,000.
The UK Border Agency's financial investigation team, based in Croydon, took immediate steps to freeze the money held within her account using a restraint order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to stop Semenikhina moving the money abroad. This money was then established as profit from her crimes.
Michael Wiggin, of the UK Border Agency's criminal and financial investigation team, said:
'This investigation shows how seriously the UK Border Agency and the courts take these offences, and how much money can be involved in this type of criminality.
'The message couldn't be clearer - crime does not pay and the UK Border Agency not only has the capability to detect and bring those involved in immigration crime to justice but also to deprive them of the rewards of their criminality.'
Semenikhina was found guilty of 1 count of facilitation, 2 counts of money laundering and 1 count of possessing false documents at Southwark Crown court on 16 February 2011.
The money confiscated from Semenikhina will be split, with half going to the Treasury and the remainder divided between the UK Border Agency, Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. We will use our share to help off-set the costs to the taxpayer of funding financial investigators in their work detecting and tackling immigration crime.