BMW X5 seized as officers launch Bling campaign to increase reporting of money made from crime

DCI Lee McBride of Northamptonshire Police launched Operation Bling! on the Market Square in Northampton on Wednesday (September 26) to encourage people to come forward and report crime.
DCI Lee McBride of Northamptonshire Police launched Operation Bling! on the Market Square in Northampton on Wednesday (September 26) to encourage people to come forward and report crime.

As part of the launch of a campaign to target proceeds of crime, a BMW X5 was put on show at the Market Square in Northampton yesterday, which was seized as part of a criminal investigation.

The regional campaign being run across Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, is aimed at raising awareness among the public to be wary of individuals that appear to have significant amounts of money, are living a lavish lifestyle with expensive cars or holidays and appear to have no legitimate means of earning the money or may have previous criminal convictions.

Through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, financial investigators can look into the lifestyles of those who are living off criminal gains and where possible, look to recover the benefit that they are making.

Over the past five years, £3.7 million pounds have been recovered through the act. Officers hope that by raising awareness, members of the public will provide further intelligence that will help recover more money from criminals.

DCI Lee McBride of Northamptonshire Police told the Chronicle & Echo: "If people are leading a lavish lifestyle, going on expensive holidays, wearing expensive jewellery and designer clothing but don’t seem to have a legitimate income - so there’s no way that they can finance that - then that’s information that’s really key to us.

"We can act on that and do some information checks and the likes to see whether there’s is anything criminally there.

"I don’t accept it. I won’t accept it in this county."

Northamptonshire Police is highlighting the case of Linda Going, aged 67, of Wetheral Close, Northampton, as an example as part of its campaign.

She was ordered to pay £255,908 which included money held in bank accounts, her house, a property in Spain, jewellery and the surrender of her pension.

Her husband Peter Going, aged 64, was ordered to pay £133,008 and their son Christopher Going, aged 44, was ordered to pay £92,878.

In November 2015, Northampton Crown Court heard that Going got a job in 1996 at WH Shoebridge & Sons, a family-owned electrical suppliers company, and worked her way up to finance director.

Between February 2006 and April 2013 Linda Going systematically stole approximately £850,000 by creating fictitious client account codes, which were linked to a bank account in her name.

The money was then used to but luxury cars and holidays including a villa in Turkey, as well as high value goods such as photographic equipment and jewellery.

The thefts from the Shoebridge companies averaged out at £10,000 per month over the investigative period.

Going had created duplicate wage sheets and false invoices and was able to transfer these sums directly into the accounts controlled by herself, Peter and her son Christopher.

Linda Going pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity while her husband and son opted for a trial. Both Peter and Christopher were found guilty at trial.

On September 20, 2015, Linda Going was sentenced to four years imprisonment, Peter Going was handed an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years, with a tagged curfew for three months from 8pm to 7am. Christopher Going received 15 months suspended for two years plus 200 hours unpaid work.

Last year, officers from the Financial Investigation Unit used POCA legislation to obtain confiscation orders against the family to the tune of £740,905, this included money held in bank accounts, property in Spain, jewellery, a house, and surrender of pension.

Significant sums of money recovered were paid back in compensation to the victims.