A court has ordered a money launderer who earned more than £156,000 in illegal gains to pay back just £2,270 – because he spent the rest.
Sussex Police will receive just £373.33 of the recovered cash, despite top detectives spending a year examining evidence in the case of Keith Tamkin who ran a piracy factory in his Sussex home.
Tamkin, 53, was jailed for 18 months in December last year for “sophisticated” copyright offences.
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He admitted six offences including one of distributing articles infringing copyright, two of money laundering a total of £140,000, one of transferring criminal property – a computer – and two of possessing prohibited weapons – a pepper spray and a stun gun.
He earned £153,000 more than he was ordered to pay back from his illicit activities – but Chichester Crown Court heard on Monday it could not be recovered as Tamkin had spent it.
The court was told Tamkin, 52, of Broomcroft Road, Felpham, Bognor, was arrested in November 2011 after Sussex Police and piracy investigators from the British Phonographic Institute, the trade body for the British recorded music industry, executed search warrants at two locations in Bognor.
Tamkin was arrested at a flat over a shop in Bognor High Street and police searched his home on suspicion of conspiracy to contravene copyright laws and money laundering offences.
At the flat, the police and investigators found more than 100 full computer hard drives, an estimated 150,000 CDs and DVDs, computers and eight multiple-bay burning towers which included equipment to counterfeit music, films and software.
A large catalogue of 25,000 titles distributed to an extensive client base was also seized.
David Wood, director of Anti- Piracy for the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Ltd said: “This case was significant in that it was one of the largest ‘domestic factories’ uncovered to date in the UK.
“It had the capability of manufacturing and distributing counterfeit product on a truly commercial scale.”
Detective Constable Nigel Tillings, of Sussex Police, said: “Our expert financial investigators found that Tamkin had, over time, acquired more than £156,000 benefit but had spent most of it.”
Chief Inspector Ali Eaton, of Sussex Police, added that it was a “sophisticated” set up.
She said: “According to the British Phonographic Institute this was the largest technical set-up that they had ever seen for the illegal downloading of films and music.”