Harlesden man jailed for £12.3m chip and pin brothel racket
- Credit: Archant
A Harlesden man has been jailed for eight years today and must pay back £6million he made through running a £12.3m chip and pin racket that allowed brothels to accept card payments for sex and cocaine.
Ashley Sheldrick, 50, of Wrottesley Road, was one of the ring leaders of a gang that used a nightclub and sham hospitality companies to launder more than £12.3m worth of clients’ payments form at least seven bordellos.
Inner London Crown Court heard how Sheldrick and Terrence Hart, 46, from Brighton, used to run the East Village Nightclub in Shoreditch, and set up the bogus companies so they could apply to merchant services providers for chip and PIN machines for non-existent events.
The gang supplied the machines and some funding to the brothels in Camden, King’s Cross and Westminster in return for a cut of the profits.
The gang also offered a fee to taxi drivers who sought potential customers outside strip clubs and dropped them off to the brothels where many paid for sex and cocaine via the chip and PIN machines.
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However in some cases, the clients unknowingly paid up to £10,000 when they thought they were being charged a much lesser sum.
The cut off the profits were paid directly into Sheldrick and Hart’s bogus company bank accounts.
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Brazilian gang member Anilton Soares and Cassia de Sousa Rodrigues, both of no fixed address, were linked to the majority of the brothels to which Sheldrick and Hart supplied the machines.
Soares would set up the bordellos using false documentation to rent the properties with de Sousa Rodrigues, who worked as the brothel maid, used the machines to take payments.
Hart was jailed for 10 years, Soares five and de Sousa Rodrigues three.
DS Geoff Donoghue, investigating officer, said: “Our investigation started over two years ago.
“At the time, the use of bogus companies laundering vice money via chip and pin machines was very new. It served to speed up the money laundering process and further enabled brothel users under the influence of drink and or drugs to be defrauded”.
Hart and Sheldrick are no longer the owners of the East Village Club.