Pair will serve close to three years
Two of Wolverhampton's most notorious criminals have today (27 July) been jailed for money laundering for their part in a multi-million pound tax fraud.
Carl and Anthony Johnson appeared at Birmingham Crown Court earlier where they were handed two years and nine months respectively.
The brothers, who have a long-standing reputation for violence in Wolverhampton, were found guilty of money laundering on Monday 9 July.
Their trial was the last in a series of criminal prosecution against 13 men following a joint investigation between West Midlands Police and HM Revenue & Customs.
The court heard how the Johnson brothers provided protection for Solihull tax crook Thomas Scragg, 56, who himself is already serving a 17-year jail term for three separate fraud convictions.
Using their reputation as local thugs, Carl (49) and Anthony (51) looked after Scragg as he defrauded the public purse to the tune of £34 million, through his Wednesfield based company Moya Payroll.
The court heard how the brothers lived extravagant lifestyles using money they received from Scragg in return for their protection services.
In total he paid the brothers, who had a string of convictions for violence and witness intimidation, around £2.4m.
All three men spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on luxury hotels in London and regularly ran up massive bills in local restaurants.
But their extravagance did not go unnoticed and the people of Wolverhampton began to ask questions about their seemingly ill-gotten gains regularly turning to the police for answers.
An investigation was launched into the Johnson brothers in 2007 and the five year inquiry has taken until today to come to fruition.
During the investigation all their accounts were frozen and managed by the police action which had a dramatic impact their lifestyles.
Restrictions were placed on their financial transactions and their assets, including properties worth more than £2 million, are now the subject of confiscation proceedings.
Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Edwards, from West Midlands Police's Gangs and Organised Crime Unit, said: "We've already seen many people jailed for this massive tax scam and the sentencing of the Johnson brothers is the final piece of a complicated jigsaw.
"It's the result we wanted after such an incredibly long and complex investigation using the combined specialist skills of officers from West Midlands Police, HMRC investigators, the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU), Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) and CPS lawyers, who have worked extremely hard throughout the inquiry.
"Carl and Anthony Johnson flaunted their wealth for the local Wolverhampton community to see which is what ultimately led to their downfall. It was the law-abiding citizens of the city who came to us demanding answers about how the Johnsons were increasing their wealth."
Superintendent Mark Payne, from Wolverhampton Police, said: "Hard working people in Wolverhampton expect police and agencies to take action on their behalf.
"There is nothing more frustrating than seeing criminals driving around in flash cars and living in huge houses.
"For a number of years the Johnson brothers seem to have been untouchable; however we would like to reassure everyone in Wolverhampton that no-one is above the law."
Head of the West Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team, Detective Inspector Chris Berrow, said "Many of us are aware of individuals who live lives of luxury without legitimate endeavour whilst most of us struggle.
"We will continue to use powers derived from the Proceeds of Crime Act to strip these criminals of their ill-gotten gains and ensure a just outcome."
You can hear an interview with DCI Shaun Edwards by playing the audio.