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Crook carried out money laundering crimes with help of his mother and sister

Mark McCracken

A JUDGE has heard how three members of the same family were involved in a “sophisticated” north Cumbria money laundering operation.

Carlisle Crown Court was told today (MON) that career crook Mark McCracken amassed ill-gotten gains during decades of criminal activity. His offending included a £315,000 identity fraud; the masterminding of a “truly massive” £600,000 bogus vehicle accident insurance scam dubbed “cash for crash” which had involved 34 other people; and drug dealing.

Prosecutor Tim Evans told Judge Peter Davies how McCracken, 51, hid criminal cash – “literally, sometimes, as great wadges” – in houses connected to him and family members. Laundered money totalling £77,480 was found by police during searches of two separate addresses at Brindlefield in Wigton.

And it emerged McCracken had also concealed criminal cash by converting it into houses which were bought outright, held in false names and rented out. The court heard McCracken was the “leading individual” in a group which also included his 69-year-old mother Linda McCracken and 47-year-old sister, Melanie Wilson, who both admitted helping him to hide criminal assets. “It is an operation of a sophisticated nature,” said Mr Evans.

Mark McCracken – formerly of Wigton and latterly of Carlisle – admitted a raft of money laundering charges. He was said by his barrister to be “devastated by the impact his offending has had” on relatives, and committed to turning his back on crime.

He, Linda McCracken and Wilson, both of Brindlefield, Wigton, will be sentenced on Friday after Judge Davies considers written submissions from barristers in the case. In the meantime, McCracken was remanded in custody, while both women – who have been told they will receive suspended prison terms – were bailed.

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