Two of Wolverhamptonâ€™s most notorious criminals have been ordered to pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds of their ill-gotten cash.
The court ruling came two years after Tony and Carl Johnson were jailed for money laundering for their involvement in a massive multi-million pound tax fraud.
A judge at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (30 April) concluded that Tony had benefitted from criminal activity to the tune of Â£918,359 âˆ’ whilst Carl gained Â£1,536,067.
Tony, 52, was told to repay Â£220,216. The court heard he had equity in properties on Sambrook Road, Whetstone Grove and The Avenue in Wolverhampton as well as Â£1,700 in bank accounts, a Â£5,200 watch and Â£185,000 he made from selling a house on Sandy Lane in the city.
Carl, 51, was ordered to pay back Â£119,000. His assets were identified as equity in property in Bushbury Road and Thorneycroft Lane, as well as â€˜tainted giftsâ€™ to his wife, jewellery and cash seized by detectives.
Following the hearing, which took place under the Proceeds of Crime Act, police also now have the authority to auction-off thousands of pounds worth of sporting memorabilia seized from Carl Johnson at the time of his arrest.
If the pair donâ€™t repay the required amount within the next six months they both face prison sentences of up to two years.
The Johnsons were two of 13 men who were prosecuted following a joint investigation between West Midlands Police and HM Revenue & Customs.
They provided protection for Solihull tax crook Thomas â€˜Tommyâ€™ Scragg who is currently serving a 17-year jail term for three separate fraud convictions.
Using their reputation as local thugs, Carl Tony looked after Scragg as he defrauded the public purse out of Â£34 million, through his Wednesfield based company Moya Payroll.
The brothers lived extravagant lifestyles using money they received from Scragg in return for their protection services.
In total he paid the brothers, who have a string of convictions for violence and witness intimidation, around Â£2.4m.
Detective Sergeant Derek Tinsley, from the Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART), has been overseeing the confiscation proceedings. He said: “The Johnsons probably thought theyâ€™d spend a couple of years and prison and then come back out to their fortune but what weâ€™ve done is take action under POCA to ensure theyâ€™re never able to benefit from their criminality.
“We froze and managed their finances at the time of their arrest and then we started proceedings to try and recoup as much of the stolen money as possible, to put it back into the public purse.
“Confiscation and forfeiture orders strike right at the heart of the principal motivation for organised crime – money. We will never rest on our laurels as we continue to seek new opportunities to remove assets from offenders.”