A WOMAN from Penarth has been jailed for 18 months for taking part in a money laundering scheme worth around half-a-million pounds.

Emma Cummings, 30, was sentenced at Newport Crown Court earlier today (Friday, February 2) alongside co-conspirators Ebrahim Ege, 33, and Amer Aslam, 35, both from Cardiff.

The trio were convicted after an investigation dubbed 'Operation Dogstar', that involved enquiries across the globe.

Financial investigator Lee Jones, who led the investigation said: "People who engage in money laundering provide a service to those who commit crime by cleaning the cash. It can then be used and appear to come from legitimate sources.

"One way to launder cash proceeds of crime is to get the dirty cash into the banking system. Another is to use that cash to acquire assets such as high value cars, or a house or flat.

"The prosecution case was that the conspirators agreed to do just that. The evidence showed that cash from unknown sources was used to purchase high value prestige vehicles and a number of properties in the Cardiff area."

Ege had used a motor business called Edge Performance Cars Ltd, based initially in Cardiff and later in Tonteg, RCT, to launder the money.

Cummings, who was Ege's partner at the time, and Aslam both used their bank accounts to launder the funds, while properties and vehicles were registered in their names to mask the identities of the true owners.

Some of the vehicles purchased included high-spec Porsches, BMWs, Audis and Mercedes. They also purchased a number of properties in Cardiff and in Gladstone Road, Barry. Many of these purchases were in paid for in cash.

The conspirators lived an extravagant lifestyle with regular trips to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other long haul destinations, often staying at five star resorts.

Despite their lifestyle HMRC provided evidence that the conspirators declared very little legitimate income but laundered cash in excess of £500,000.

Mr Jones added: "It doesn't matter how complicated criminals make their financial affairs or how long they think they have got away with it, even if they have created a so-called legitimate persona, law enforcement will unravel it, come knocking on their door and look to recover any proceeds or benefit that originated from their criminal activity."

Ege was jailed for four years, while Aslam also received an 18 month sentence.