A cryptocurrency millionaire and international drug kingpin has been sentenced to 37 years in prison for fraud, money laundering, and drug offences.
Last week, Aram Sheibani was found guilty of 20 related charges that will keep him locked up until he is 78-years-old, following a sting by British police who tied him to millions in undeclared property, cash, and cryptocurrency.
During sentencing, judge Anthony Cross QC said Sheibani’s “greed knows no boundaries” and that he was “not just a supplier but a processor of drugs,” according to the BBC.
Police arrested Sheibani in 2019 on suspicion of money laundering and fraud during raids on his properties in Manchester and London in which they seized $2.2 million in cash and $2.75 million in cryptocurrency.
Sheibani is said to have lived a lavish lifestyle involving with yacht parties, multiple sports cars, and even a hair transplant that cost him around $58,000.
During raids on his properties, property police found a safe in which Sheibani had kept nearly $300,000 in cash, a cache of cocaine, and recovery phrases for cryptocurrency wallets.
They also uncovered ieces of original art from the likes of Banksy and Andy Warhol, encrypted IronKey USB devices, and multiple “Encro phones” – two of which Sheibani smashed and tried to flush down the toilet.
Encrochat was a European service selling fully encrypted mobile phones which were wildly popular among organised criminal syndicates until it was hacked last year.
Sheibani refused to cooperate with a warrant demanding he provide passwords and PINs for the computers, phones, and storage devices police seized, adding an extra three years to his sentence.
Manchester Police said Sheibani forged bank statements, pay slips, and other documents to purchase multiple properties, even using third party buyers who then transferred ownership to him as a means of evading the scrutiny of authorities.
Sergeant Lucy Pearson from the Manchester Police’s Economic Crimes Unit described Sheibani as “a calculated, deceitful and scheming criminal”.
“His greed shows no limits and he has been funding his materialistic lifestyle of luxury with fraud and criminality, masquerading as a legitimate businessman to conceal his ill-gotten gains,” she said in a statement.
“He is a dishonest individual who has not shown any remorse for his actions throughout this entire investigation, refusing to co-operate with police and attempting to destroy evidence.
“May today's sentencing serve as a warning to anyone thinking they can get away with such fraudulent and criminal activity, we will find you, and ensure that you face the full consequences of your actions.”
Sheibani's sentencing happened in the same week that Australian and US law enforcement agencies co-operated in a sting involving a fake messaging app distributed to organised criminal groups.