Family jailed for digging up drug dealer’s stash

Anyone with information should contact police 101.
Anyone with information should contact police 101.

A drug dealer’s wife and her family have been jailed for digging up cash buried by her jailed husband so they could launder it.

Giulia Masciopinto, 37, was told to move the money from her mum’s garden in Harrowden Road, Bedford, by Domenico while he was serving 14 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

She and Caterina de Filippo then placed the notes into a large holdall and stored it in the loft.

Giulia’s 28-year-old sister, Palma De Filippo, helped carry out the crime by storing some of the money in the boot of her car.

The sisters made numerous cash deposits into their bank accounts over the relevant time, the court heard.

Giulia was told to take some of the money for a holiday and her jailed husband also arranged for a Mercedes to be bought for her.

Months later, on March 19, 2013, officers carried out search warrants at Guilia’s home of Guilia Masciopinto in Redhall Close and the Caterina De Filippo’s home in Harrowden Road in Bedford.

They recovered £270,000 in cash in various bags along with mobile phones.

A number of the notes were mouldy and had been placed in freezer bags.

Domenico and Giulia Masciopinto pleaded guilty to concealing criminal property. Giulia also admitted converting criminal property.

Caterina De Filippo and Palma De Filippo denied concealing criminal property but were convicted following a trial at Aylesbury Crown Court. Palma De Filippo was also found guilty of converting criminal property.

Domenico Masciopinto was sentenced to a further 22 months in prison at Amersham Law Courts yesterday (Thursday), while Caterina and Palma De Filippo were both jailed for 12 months. Giulia Masciopinto was sentenced to nine months.

Detective Inspector Pushpa Guild said: “This was a sophisticated attempt to hide a substantial amount of criminally gained cash.

“We will relentlessly pursue criminals to claw back any money they have obtained through crime and will not tolerate those who seek to hide or launder such money.

“While this was no doubt orchestrated by Domenico Masciopinto, the women were willing accomplices to the crime and would have been in no doubt that what they were doing by digging up, storing and attempting to launder large amounts of cash was against the law.

“This case should serve as a warning of the consequences of getting involved in such offences.”

Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Adrian Foster said: “This case involved the concealment and laundering of in excess of £250,000 of cash, which was the proceeds of drug dealing.

“Domenico Masciopinto is serving a 14 year sentence having been convicted in 2012 of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

“The prosecution sought to confiscate the profit he had made from his drug dealing and a financial investigation was launched, but the cash profits were never found.

“In January 2013, the court made a confiscation order for £121,736.90 with two years in default.

“From prison, Domenico directed his wife, Giulia Masciopinto, his mother in law, Caterina De Filippo and his sister in law, Palma De Filippo to help him by digging up, drying out and re-hiding the cash, which he had buried in Caterina’s garden.

“They decided that the safest place to conceal the money was at Caterina’s house. When police raided her house they found the money in the loft and dotted around the house, having been dug up shortly before.

“Small amounts of money were also discovered at Giulia’s house, which was also searched. Some of the cash was mouldy with disappearing serial numbers and would soon be rendered worthless.

“The investigation established that some of the proceeds of crime had been used to buy cars, fund holidays abroad and had been deposited into bank accounts.

“Domenico Masciopinto pleaded guilty February 24 to concealing property and Giulia Masciopinto pleaded guilty 27 March to concealing criminal property and converting criminal property.

“Caterina De Filippo and Palma De Filippo denied concealing criminal property, but were found guilty by a jury on 5 October 2015, at Aylesbury Crown Court after an 11-day trial, despite their denials.

“Palma De Filippo was also found guilty of converting criminal property. They are all clearly ruthless individuals with no regard for the law.

“In addition to the robust prosecution of offenders so that they are convicted and punished, we are also active in depriving them of the proceeds of their crimes.

“The removal of criminal assets from offenders is a very important way of showing our communities that crime does not pay and taking the profit out of crime.

“We have worked closely with Bedfordshire Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

“This case sends a clear message to those involved in this kind of criminality that we will robustly prosecute them to ensure that justice is done, and that they will pay not only financially, but with their liberty too.”