Man denies knowing £70,000 was unlawful

Graham Lane
Graham Lane
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A bridegroom accused of converting the proceeds of his wife’s criminal activity claimed he did not know payments of more than £70,000 made to his account were unlawful.

Graham Lane, 36, of Ashfield Road, Adlington, is standing trial for his part in the couple’s alleged deception.

His wife Kirsty Lane, a former accounts administrator for Pure Audio Visual Ltd in Leyland, has already admitted making transfers totalling more than £200,000 from the company’s bank account to accounts held by herself, her husband and another company.

But Lane claimed he believed the money paid to his account was from his wife’s savings and overtime.

At one point, Lane said he thought Mrs Lane had spent in the region of £50,000 on home renovations, wedding costs, cars and a television.

However, he accepted her explanation and did not check his bank account.

Between June 2009 and December 2010, Lane paid more than £71,000 into her husband’s account, which she had cheated from her employer in Leyland.

In one month alone, she made payments totalling £14,189 into his personal account.

Lane denies converting criminal property.

He told the court he took home a wage of around £1,900 a month, but said he did not notice the extra money passing through his account as it was spent shortly after it was paid in.

He said he had cancelled his paper bank statements and would check his balance at the cash machine, adding: “It never looked more than or less than I was spending.”

When police officers raided the couple’s home they discovered iPods, a Sony Bravia television, two DVLA receipts for private registration plates, and a designer Tag Huer watch.

The deception was uncovered while the couple were on honeymoon, but Kirsten McAteer, prosecuting, said Lane must have known or suspected what was paid into his account was the proceeds of his wife’s criminal conduct.

The court heard Mrs Lane had responsibility for paying staff wages and suppliers in her role at the company.

But between June 2009 and December 2010, a total of £71,717.37 was transferred to a Barclays bank account held by Graham Lane, using the company’s internet bank account.

However, while the couple were enjoying their honeymoon, company director Peter Sutton received a query from a supplier about an unpaid invoice.

Initially, it appeared the payment had been paid, but when Mr Sutton investigated further, he discovered the payment had been made to Mrs Lane’s account.

The court heard Lane initially thought an administrative error had been made, but further investigations revealed 54 payments had been made into Mr Lane’s account.

Miss McAteer, prosecuting, said: “The defendant knew or suspected that the money which his wife had transferred into his bank account was the proceeds of Mrs Lane’s fraud of her company.

“The prosecution’s case is that he has allowed her to use his bank account to receive these payments, which have been taken dishonestly.”

Lane denies a charge of converting criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Miss McAteer said: “He said he had been suspicious at one point as to where the money had come from, but Mrs Lane said she had savings, and had done further work with Pure AV Ltd.”

The court heard Mrs Lane had worked for the company for three years, earning a total of £44,618 with a further £3,250 bonuses.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict on Wednesday.