Your son was a money launderer, says TONY HETHERINGTON
Tony Hetherington is the Financial Mail on Sunday’s investigator, battling readers’ corners, exposing the truth behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left behind. Find out how to contact him below.
Ms MD writes: I hope you can help my son Jack. In 2017, when he was 17, his Barclays account was unexpectedly closed. When we pressed Barclays explained that someone had deposited money into their account from a “reported” account.
Since then, Jack has been blacklisted by every financial institution in the country. He cannot have a bank account.
Fraud prevention body Credit Industry Fraud Prevention System (Cifas) has confirmed there is something registered against his name but will not remove it as they believe Barclays acted with a valid reason.
Cheques: Jack appeared on the Cifas database which tracks fraud
Tony Hetherington replies: Intentionally or not, your son was a naïve young money launderer. He is now paying the price for letting other people spend thousands of pounds on his bank account so that their dodgy transactions trace back to Jack and not them.
Your letter says “someone” deposited money into his account which makes it look like the money was never withdrawn and was a complete surprise to him.
But when I asked for details, you explained that Jack ran a small business with a friend, buying clothes they thought they could sell online for a profit.
Jack decided to try on his own and ended up dealing with someone who asked for his bank details. Jack gave his full bank details online, and even his address and phone number – everything needed to enable deposits and withdrawals.
Within 24 hours, thousands of pounds had poured into his account, then split into different sums which had been transferred to people whose names meant nothing to Jack.
It was classic money laundering. Every time stolen money or drug money is moved from one account to another, with the amounts changing each time, it becomes more and more difficult for the police to prove that the money after the track is the same as the money at the start.
Jack didn’t even get a decent reward from the crooks. Professional money launderers take a percentage off. Smaller hobbyists might settle for a reasonable lump sum. But out of thousands of pounds, Jack was left with just £6, suggesting he didn’t know what he was doing.
Cifas has a database of suspects, and Jack is there. The entry made by Barclays indicates that he had a personal checking account – not a business account – which was fraudulently used. But the database is not a blacklist. If a bank or building society decided to let Jack open an account, they could.
I know Jack applied to NatWest, Nationwide, and HSBC, and they all turned him down. No company is obligated to do business with someone they decide to reject, and in your son’s case, they’ve probably decided he might cause more trouble than he’s worth.
Imagine the reaction of financial watchdogs if a bank let your son through the door and his account was again used to launder money. Victims may well sue the bank for giving Jack an account, knowing what he had done in the past.
However, your son may be able to relax a little in about a year. Cifas records are mostly not kept longer than six years, so Jack’s misconduct in 2017 will take the system down in 2023, which should make it easier for him to rebuild his banking arrangements.
Why did my car cover suddenly jump £233 as I looked online?
AJ writes: I was looking online for car insurance and Hastings Direct quoted £233 for full cover, although the policy required a black box to be fitted.
I didn’t know what that entailed, so I called them to inquire about installation costs. While the member of staff was looking into this out of curiosity I looked online what difference it would make if I lowered my deductible from £250 to £150 but it didn’t seem to make any difference.
I decided to pursue the policy and was told to continue online, only to find the £233 quote had risen dramatically.
Finger of blame: Hastings said there was a technical fault
Tony Hetherington replies: You were told that the original quote was valid until midnight that day, but when you asked Hastings Direct why the premium had increased, you were told that because you had considered reducing the deductible, the quote initial had been automatically cancelled, even if a change in the deductible would have no impact on the premium.
I asked Hastings Direct to explain, and the staff blamed it on a “technical glitch” that meant customers who had requested the company’s YouDrive product were incorrectly shown a much higher price if they experimented. possible changes, such as a lower deductible. The system should have brought you back to the original figure of £233.
This of course does not explain why the staff did not correct this when you complained, before you contacted me. You told me that you have now covered yourself elsewhere.
If you believe you have been the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at the Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email [email protected] Due to the high volume of inquiries, no personal response can be given. Please only send copies of the original documents, which we regret cannot return.
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