Ross McKay from Handforth in Greater Manchester was found guilty of three offences of money laundering.
McKay was responsible for conveyancing in more than 80 property transactions for several criminals, all of whom were subsequently convicted of serious offences including money laundering and fraud.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said he was the gang’s go-to solicitor as they knew he would carry out the transactions without asking too many questions about the nature of their business, sources of deposits or connections between parties to the transactions.
He was sentenced at Manchester Crown Square on Friday.
Illegal funds disguised
Deposits were put down on houses where the true illegal source of the funds was disguised from the lenders, mortgage applications used nominees instead of the names of the legitimate purchasers, and claims about income were wildly exaggerated in order to secure the loans.
McKay’s offending came to light through an investigation run by GMP’s Economic Crime Unit into the activities of an organised group who had been laundering the proceeds of their criminal enterprise, including drug-dealing, tax evasion and mortgage and property fraud.
Economic Crime Unit senior financial investigator Adrian Ladkin said: “McKay was fully aware that the purpose of the transactions was to launder criminal proceeds and he was deliberately dishonest in facilitating them.
“As a solicitor, McKay was in a position of trust, but he spectacularly failed in his legal duties through his corrupt and unlawful actions.
“It is thanks to the meticulous work of the officers in this case that today he has been brought to account for his deceitful actions.”
£10m property empire
One of McKay’s clients in the frauds has been told he must repay more than £3.5m or be sentenced to a further spell in jail.
The Manchester Evening News reported that Scott Rowbotham of Stalybridge, who amassed a property empire worth more than £10m, must pay back £3,522,459 to avoid jail.
The proceeds of crime case is the largest ever undertaken by Greater Manchester Police and will see his portfolio sold off to meet the sum.
Rowbotham was given three months to pay back the cash, although this may be extended to six months.