Money-launderer who received more than £350,000 from mostly elderly and retired victims of fraud has been jailed.

Luke Barling, 49, from Sittingbourne, accepted payments from 16 separate people who had been scammed in a variety of ways.

He was sentenced to two years and nine months’ imprisonment when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday 8 June 2023.


Among those who transferred money to Barling were:

• An 89-year-old man who was tricked into paying around £24,000 in so-called insurance fees after being contacted by fraudsters who claimed they wanted to purchase a piece of land from him.

• A 76-year-old man targeted by rogue traders who charged him a total of more than £23,000 for carrying out unnecessary repairs to his roof. He later told officers the ordeal had led to him suffering significant health issues and that he is now confined to a wheelchair.

• A 65-year-old man who lost more than £9,000 due to a scam relating to the sale of diamonds. He was recovering from cancer treatment at the time he was targeted and his health also deteriorated as a result.


Other victims thought they were making investments in ISAs and saving accounts with attractive interest rates, unaware they were being tricked by fraudsters using clones of legitimate companies. Some were unaware they had been defrauded until they were contacted by police.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate established that whilst there was no evidence Barling had been involved in the frauds themselves, he had been accepting and spending large amounts of cash paid into two bank accounts opened between February and June 2020 when the first Covid-19 lockdown was in effect. Large sums were also transferred to a number of unknown recipients.

Barling was arrested on Wednesday 8 July 2020 and later pleaded guilty in court to three counts of money laundering.


Investigating officer Detective Constable Roger Harris said: ‘Luke Barling was essentially acting as a treasurer for other criminals by allowing them to pay illegally-earned funds into his bank accounts in exchange for a share of the proceeds. Whilst there is nothing to suggest he targeted the victims in this case himself, he should still be thoroughly ashamed of himself for his connection to the crimes committed.

‘Those responsible took advantage of people who were largely elderly and vulnerable, many of whom handed over their life’s savings in good faith. Whilst a number of victims were able to recover the money they had lost including some with our assistance, others have been permanently deprived of vast quantities of money at a time when they are entitled to be enjoying their later years.

‘The consequences of the crimes committed will have a long-lasting impact on the victims so it is only fair that Barling should have to take responsibility for his own actions by spending a significant amount of time behind bars.’

By Ed

©2024 Hawkinge Gazette       -       The Hawkinge Gazette is not responsible for the content of external sites