Rana Dhaia, owner of Townsend Poultry in Wolverhampton, worked together with Darren Williams and Elliot Smith – both dispatch managers at 2 Sisters in Llangefni, Wales – to commit fraud and acquire criminal property relating to poultry.
Their actions came to light during an audit at 2 Sisters, which showed that Williams and Smith were supplying Townsend Poultry with chicken despite the firm not being a customer and no records of the deliveries existing.
Enquiries made with local hauliers used by 2 Sisters confirmed there had been 84 deliveries from 2 Sisters to Townsend Poultry, worth more than £318k. Williams and Smith had destroyed the records of those deliveries.
Dhaia pleaded not guilty to acquiring criminal property and was convicted after trial on the 26 October 2023 at Caernarfon Crown Court. Subsequently, he was sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of four years and three months.
Meanwhile, Williams pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and proceeds of crime, transfer criminal property on 9 March 2023 at Caernarfon Magistrates' Court, and Smith pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position on the same date.
Williams was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence with a requirement to undertake 300 hours unpaid work and Smith was given the same suspended sentence and the requirement to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work.
'Defendants took advantage of positions'
Crown advocate Emmalyne Downing said: “The three defendants took advantage of their position within the companies to defraud 2 Sisters Food Group. Fraud cases can be complex; the Crown Prosecution Service worked closely with the Economic Crime Unit at North Wales Police and the Food Standards Agency in Wales to build a strong case against the defendants. The evidence presented resulted in all three being convicted”.
Detective constable David Hall of the North Wales Police Economic Crime Unit welcomed the outcome following work with the Food Standards Agency.
“The offences that took place not only cost the 2 Sisters Food group thousands of pounds, but also could have had far-reaching implications due to traceability issues if they had not been caught,” Hall added.
Andrew Quinn, head of the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU), said that the sentences served as a “strong deterrent message” to anyone considering committing future food crime.
Quinn continued: “I want to thank the CPS and North Wales police for their excellent work in securing these convictions. Together, we are stronger in the fight against food fraud and we continue to work with partners to help ensure that consumers are protected.”