A man from Surrey convicted for running schemes to help criminals launder their cash is wanted by the National Crime Agency after he failed to turn up to a sentencing hearing.
Lenn Mayhew-Lewis, a 68-year-old Jamaican national from Oxted, Surrey, played a leading role laundering money for organised criminals and was arrested in July 2020.
He offered services that helped criminals blur the origins of their cash by using multiple companies to filter payments, and eventually pay them an income that would appear legitimate to outsiders.
Cash was moved across a network of bank accounts, with a fee taken in the process. On some occasions Lenn Mayhew-Lewis used companies registered overseas and operated them under the guise of investment platforms.
Emails and phone messages analysed by NCA officers showed he could produce fake documents such as investment records and bank statements to make payments appear more plausible. On at least one occasion he also helped a client purchase a company that was used to fraudulently obtain a bounce back loan.
After failing to appear at a sentencing hearing in March 2023, Mayhew-Lewis was sentenced in his absence to five years for money laundering and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
Last week [17 July] he received an additional nine months, to be served consecutively, for perverting the course of justice after operating a scheme that helped criminals evade speeding offences.
Mayhew-Lewis was assisted by businessman Simon Gamble, 53, from Denby, Derbyshire, who allowed his car rental company Denby Cars to be used. Together with his son, Laurence Gamble, 27, they offered non-existent jobs where they provided criminals with proof of employment and monthly salary payments to make cash payments into personal accounts appear non-suspicious. The father and son were sentenced on 5 July to five years and two years six months respectively.
Following an NCA investigation, all of the men involved were arrested in March 2020 on the same day as the Tawiah organised crime group – who used their services and were sentenced to 71 years in prison.
Darryl Tawiah, 44, from Southwark, London, was already serving 18 years in jail when he was sentenced to a further 25 last year. He gave instructions to couriers from prison to deposit cash into various business accounts at separate banks. The accounts were registered to companies where Mayhew-Lewis or people he had dealings with were listed as directors.
The group liaised with Tawiah and other criminals on how much salary to pay into various accounts – sometimes for the benefit of their partners and family members.
Ian Myles-Harris, was another criminal who used the group’s services. He was convicted in 2020 after his car was stopped by police and evidence of Class A drug production was found at his house in Bushey, Hertfordshire. A payslip was recovered there which showed his employer as one of those owned by the men.
Myles-Harris was part of a wider organised crime group who were collectively sentenced to more than 156 years.
Jason Hulme, from the NCA’s International Corruption Unit, said: “Mayhew-Lewis enabled criminals to profit from serious and organised crime and circumvent the systems in place which would have alerted authorities.
“He and others who help launder the proceeds of crime are also profiteering from the exploitation and violence that so often comes with the likes of the drug trafficking trade.
“Mayhew-Lewis has been on the run since March this year. If anyone has information that could help us locate him please contact the NCA or Crimestoppers anonymously.”
As part of the NCA investigation, there was a cash seizure of £475,000 at Heathrow Airport in July 2017. Officers found text messages on the cash courier’s phone detailing conversations with Mayhew-Lewis about bribing officials in Africa. No evidence of bribery offences was ever obtained, but officers identified he was laundering money on behalf of organised crime groups involved in the drugs trade.
Following the sharing of intelligence, he was arrested by West Midlands Police in 2019 and found to be transporting eight kilos of gold worth around £250,000.
In 2021, he was also sentenced to 10 months in prison for contempt of court. This was related to multiple breaches of a pre-charge restraint order, placed upon him following his arrest by the NCA in July 2020.
Mayhew-Lewis was charged in August 2022 and found guilty following a trial at Southwark Crown Court in January 2023. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear for his sentencing hearing.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts can contact the NCA on 0370 496 7622 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.