A CAERNARFON businessman who cannot read had a criminal benefit of more than £8 million, a judge ruled.
Judge Philip Hughes ruled William O’Grady’s criminal benefit was £8,036,664 after a week long financial hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act and ordered him to pay £213,525 within six months as part of a confiscation order or face jail
The hearing followed earlier convictions for illegally dumping waste at three sites in Caernarfon – one described as the largest illegal waste site in Wales.
The prosecution, Environment Agency Wales, suggested O’Grady had made more than £44 million from his criminal lifestyle and from the offences.
Just over £62,600 of the confiscation order will be used as compensation to the Environment Agency so that one of the sites involved – Tyddyn Whisgin at Caernarfon – can be monitored for two years to determine the best way of dealing with the waste which included bricks, plastic, wood, glass, plaster and insulation fibres.
A hearing at Mold Crown Court was told O’Grady continued to protest his innocence.
His applications to appeal against the convictions had been rejected but he was hoping that he could reapply on the basis of fresh evidence.
Judge Hughes, who listened to prosecution and defence submissions at Llandudno last week said while O’Grady was unable to read, he had no doubt that he had overcome what disadvantages he had to become a shrewd and successful businessman and had undisclosed or hidden assets although it was impossible to know the extent of them.
The prosecution had claimed that there were unexplained credits of £44 million but the judge said he had concluded that there would be a serious risk of injustice if he made the statutory assumptions the prosecution were asking him to make.
The judge ruled that O’Grady’s company Gwynedd Skip Hire Ltd had benefited to the tune of £1.1 million and his other company, William O’Grady Haulage and Plant Hire Ltd, made £145,000 illegally.
Both companies are now in administration and the judge agreed with prosecuting barrister Charlotte Atherton that nominal £1 confiscation orders should be made – to keep them alive - in case the companies were restarted in the future.
The judge had previously refused an adjournment for a further 99 boxes containing documents to be examined by a defence accountant, on the basis that previous deadlines to provide information had not been met.