Two gangsters from the West Midlands have been jailed for their part in a huge fraud.
Anthony and Carl Johnson were notorious in the Wolverhampton area for violence, and were convicted of money laundering.
The pair have been sentenced to two years, and nine months respectively, for effectively being the henchman to a Solihull fraudster.
Anthony (41, Bishop Avenue, Bushbury) and Carl (49, Bushbury Road, Bushbury) made £2.4m providing security services to Thomas Scragg (56, Rotherhams Oak Lane, Hockley Heath, Solihull), who is already serving a 17 year sentence for fraud.
Scragg’s sentence encompasses three separate convictions and is the second-longest sentence ever handed out in the UK for fraud.
He failed to pay tax owed to the government on the wages of construction firm staff, whom he worked with through his own company “Moya Payroll”.
The total amount of tax avoided ran to £34m, although the construction firms themselves were unaware of his actions.
The court heard how the Johnson brothers lived extravagant lifestyles with the money they earned from Scragg: spending thousands on luxury hotels, running up huge bills in local restaurants, and buying a Lamborghini.
Their wealth made people in Wolverhampton suspicious, which led to a five years investigation by West Midlands Police, and eventually led to them being traced back to Scragg and his fraud.
Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Edwards, from the West Midlands Police’s Gangs and Organised Crime Unit, said:
“Carl and Anthony Johnson flaunted their wealth for the local Wolverhampton community to see, which is what ultimately led to their downfall.
“It was the law-abiding citizens of the city who came to us demanding answers about how the Johnsons were increasing their wealth.”
Police have now limited their access to their assets, and are in the process of confiscating properties worth more than £2m.
Superintendent Mark Payne, from Wolverhampton Police, added:
“There is nothing more frustrating than seeing criminals driving around in flash cars and living in huge houses.
“For a number of years the Johnsons were seen as untouchable; however, we would like to reassure everyone in Wolverhampton that no-one is above the law.”