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Convicted recycling racketeer ordered to repay £1.3m

Leeds Crown Court. Photo: Andrew McCaren/LNP/Rex/Shutterstock

A fraudster imprisoned for environmental crime could get another eight years in jail if he doesn’t cough up over £1.3m.

Terry Soloman Dugbo was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison at Leeds Crown Court in July 2016, after defrauding £2.2m out of the UK’s electrical waste industry.

On Friday, the same court ordered Dugbo to pay back £1,373,060 – or be sentenced to another eight years.

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The confiscation was brought by the Environment Agency (EA) under the Proceeds of Crime Act following an investigation into the profit Dugbo made from his crimes. He was found guilty of falsifying paperwork to claim his firm TLC Recycling Ltd had collected and recycled over 19,500 tonnes of electrical household waste in 2011.

In reality, the company was found to be claiming money for picking electrical waste from streets and properties that did not exist and faking records of transport carrying heavy loads of waste.

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According to the EA, Dugbo has not been able to provide credible evidence to show what happened to the money. However, the EA and HM Revenue & Customs uncovered bank accounts in Nigeria, Senegal and Spain.

Investigation into Dugbo’s realisable assets suggest he had benefitted from his crimes to the tune of £1.3m.

Documents revealed Dugbo led a “lavish lifestyle” with five-star holidays in Ibiza and mainland Europe, luxury vehicles and tailor-made suits.

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Dugbo claimed to have gambled away many of the assets he acquired through the fraud, which the court rejected.

Dr Paul Salter, EA waste team leader, said the confiscation will send a clear message to others who break the law that “waste crime does not pay”.

“Waste crime undermines legitimate businesses and can have significant detrimental impacts on communities and the environment,” Salter said.

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“This hearing demonstrates how seriously we take waste crime and we’ll continue to take action against those operating outside of the law and the regulations.

“Not only do we use environmental law to prosecute those who abuse the environment but we also use the Proceeds of Crime legislation to ensure that criminals are deprived of the benefits of their illegal activity.