A corrupt recruiting agent who lined his pockets by providing slave labor for a large Sutton Coldfield parcel company has been jailed for seven years.
David Handy pocketed a small fortune while his exploited workforce – trafficked to the UK with false promises of wealth and a good lifestyle – lived in misery and in some cases ended up with only £ 20 per week.
Handy was part of one of the largest human trafficking networks discovered in the UK.
READ MORE: Gang of traffickers shipped hundreds of victims from Poland to Birmingham to live in squalid homes
He drew hundreds of people from Poland to Birmingham and the West Midlands with promises of high paying jobs and better lives.
When they arrived here, they were put up in substandard accommodation and beaten or threatened if they refused to work or complained.
The victims ranged from 17 years to a man in his sixties. In some properties there were no working toilets, heating, furniture or hot water, and some victims told of how they were forced to wash in the canals.
Handy started recruiting company ASAP 24/7 Ltd in May 2015 and supplied logistics company Sutton Coldfield XDP – where he previously worked – with dozens of shop workers sent by their Polish gang leaders.
The 54-year-old was able to maximize his profits by skimming off part of the income of his victims before paying the wages directly into the bank accounts of their exploiters.
He also received setbacks from the trafficking gang for agreeing to find internships for the victims who were under their control.
One man was only paid £ 10 for working up to 13 hours a day, while the gang kept the rest of his hard-earned wages.
The court heard how Handy operated as a “legitimate employer,” providing work for those exploited by the slave gang.
Handy discussed how workers would be managed, where wages would be paid and hid the profits he was making from HMRC.
Handy, of Oxford Street, Stoke-on-Trent, is believed to have earned over £ 500,000 which he used to pay off his mortgage and other debts, and was able to save around £ 400,000.
He denied any involvement, but in June a jury found him guilty of conspiring to coerce people into forced labor, conspiracy to traffic in human beings for the purpose of exploitation and money laundering. silver.
And yesterday (September 24), Handy was jailed for seven years at Birmingham Crown Court.
Handy made so much money from the exploitation of workers that he brought in an accomplice, Shane Lloyd, to try to prevent his illicit earnings from being discovered.
Almost £ 140,000 was paid into Lloyd’s bank account, which he then cashed and remitted to Handy.
Lloyd, 47, of West Brampton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, pleaded guilty in an earlier hearing to two counts of money laundering and was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years and sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work.
The couple’s involvement in the ring was uncovered by police who carried out the largest slavery and trafficking investigation ever in the UK.
West Midlands Police Detachment Chief Inspector Nick Dale led the investigation. He said: “Handy was an integral part of the crime gang, finding work for the victims and maximizing their exploitation.
“He made a lot more money than any legitimate employment agent could have – and there was evidence the gang also gave him £ 20 for every victim he employed.
“Handy was making a lot of money while the victims – ranging in age from 17 to a man in his 60s – effectively worked for only 50 cents an hour. He also went to great lengths to protect himself, creating worthless contracts and filming himself educating workers about their rights, when in reality he was instrumental in removing those rights.
The police investigation into the criminal gang saw officers analyze 650,000 telephone data lines, 250 bank accounts, more than 3,000 exhibits – including bank statements and claims for benefits – and 1,500 witness statements in plus accounts from survivors.
Two other members of the criminal group – who collectively earned at least £ 2million between June 2012 and October 2017 – were also jailed yesterday (September 24).
Lukasz Wyrwinski and Mateus Natkowski – who both lived on James Turner Street in Birmingham – acted as “trusted leaders” for the gang, using violence and threats to intimidate victims and keep them online.
Wyrwinski, 38, was known as “Devil” – Polish for devil – and had a feared reputation. In addition to enforcing the gang through threat and the use of violence, on one occasion he removed the identification of a victim who died of natural causes in one of the gang’s houses – all to prevent the gang to be caught so that he can continue to exploit people.
He recognized a conspiracy to coerce people into forced labor, a conspiracy to traffic in human beings for the purpose of exploitation and money laundering.
Natkowski, 29, was convicted of conspiracy to coerce people into forced labor, conspiracy to traffic in human beings for the purpose of exploitation.
The judge called their role in bringing the victims into the country “to seize and imprison”. They were imprisoned for four years and three months and four years and six months respectively.
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