Naive mum avoids jail after cash laundering

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A “NAIVE” woman broke down as a judge told her she would be spared jail after more than £130,000 was laundered through her bank accounts by her partner.

Van Thanh Ngo, 37, was given aslyum in Britain after fleeing Vietnam in 2007 after a six-year battle.

In May 2009 she applied for a £270,000 mortgage with Halifax bank to buy a house on Savile Park Road. She admitted lying to staff when she told them she had an income of £50,000 per year and was being given a £50,000 deposit by her parents.

In fact, mother-of-two Ngo who runs her own nail bar business in Halifax, used criminal property to pay the deposit, asking friends to write her cheques in return for giving them a total of £47,000 in cash.

She admitted lying to get the mortgage, but the bank did not lose money as she paid each of the monthly £1,200 payments.

She also admitted acquiring criminal property after allowing £136,700 to be deposited in her account. The Crown Prosecution Service said they could not prove where the money had come from, but said it had “some features” of drug money.

Ngo’s barrister Robert Elias said because the money was deposited from a number of different places across the country and in irregular patterns, it was more likely to have come from loan sharking, people trafficking or even prostitution.

Bradford Crown Court was told she had no idea her accounts were being used to launder money or that the house had been used as a cannabis farm by her lodger.

Robert Elias, representing Ngo, said: “She has been used and spat out by her partner. She realises she faces near financial ruin and the loss of her house because of this.”

Judge John Potter said he had taken an unusual step by suspending her 52 week sentence for two years. He told her she would have to complete the maximum of 300 hours unpaid work, and imposed a curfew for four months. “You effectively submitted your account to your husband to allow him to launder money through them,” he said.