Brothel owner ordered to pay back £300,000

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A woman jailed for running brothels in the City of London and Berkshire has been ordered to repay nearly £300,000 of the profit she made from her wrongdoing.

Graziela McNamee, 39, of Hunton Bridge, Kings Langley, Herts, appeared at Inner London Crown Court following an extensive inquiry by City of London Police’s financial investigation unit.

At court McNamee, who attempted to contest her Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, was given three months to pay back £298,783. If she fails to pay, McNamee faces a potential further three years in prison.

In total, she was assessed as having made a benefit of £354,097 in assets as a result of her criminal activity, which included cash seized, various quantities of cash in bank accounts, her Land Rover Discovery, and the equity in her house.

She and husband Brendan McNamee were originally sentenced on 19 September 2017 at the same court following a trial. Both were convicted of five counts each of controlling, managing or assisting in the management of a brothel; Graziela was also convicted of possession of criminal property, and of converting criminal property.

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The court ordered Graziela McNamee to pay back £300,000

She was ordered to serve three years in prison for the charges of controlling or managing prostitution, with sentences of two years for converting criminal property, and one year for possession of criminal property, to run concurrently.

Brendan, meanwhile, was given a 12-month custodial sentence suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work.

The case followed a lengthy investigation by City of London Police’s central detective unit, which led raids on 27 April 2016 at residences in Middlesex Street (E1), Friar Street (EC4), Fleet Street (EC4), Poppins Court (EC4), and Kelvin Gate in Bracknell, each of which were being rented by the suspects for use as brothels.

The court heard how the investigation initially stemmed from complaints to officers from neighbours living near the Middlesex Street property, who were suspicious about the activity taking place within.

An investigation into the apartment found the registered tenant to be Graziela McNamee, who had rented the property since June 2015. Further research found her to be the director of a company, City Sensations, which openly advertised sexual services online.

A parallel financial investigation conducted by the City of London Police also ensured that acquired assets were seized.

When the couple were arrested, Graziela’s new Land Rover Discovery and a quantity of cash were seized and detained under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Restraint orders were also sought and granted against their house in Hunton Bridge, along with numerous bank accounts.

Detective Constable Gareth Jenkins, who led the financial investigation into McNamee’s assets, said: “This is a significant result on top of her original sentence which highlights that the City of London Police will always seek to target profit made through criminality, and that it simply is not worth trying.

“Our specialist unit used its expertise to link McNamee’s criminal wrongdoing with the profits she had enjoyed, and now she will repay the vast majority of it, which will likely include the sale of her house and car.”

At a separate hearing in April 2018, Brendan McNamee received a confiscation order for £2,500 which he has since paid off.