Banker Mother Of Notorious Liverpool Crime Family Ordered To Pay Back 120000
The ‘banker’ mother of a notorious crime family has been ordered to pay back more than £120,000 of ill-gotten gains – or face almost three more years in prison.
Christine Fitzgibbon, matriarch of the Fitzgibbon drug dealing family, was said to have made £280,000 by laundering the illicit profits of her sons, Ian and Jason.
The 62-year-old grandmother and her sons were locked up in 2013 over a £7m drug smuggling plot and money laundering racket.
Now authorities are chasing their fortunes, believed to be buried in hidden assets.
The National Crime Agency suspects Ian and Jason, who were caught on tape boasting of their lavish lifestyle and arguing which one was the better drug dealer, may have benefited from criminal activities to the tune of £1.7m and £1.5m respectively.
Proceeds of crime legislation is being used to recoup as much of the family’s ill-gotten gains as possible.
A five-day hearing began today at Manchester Crown Court where a judge is ruling on how much they made from crime and how much they have available to pay back, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Christine, who claimed state benefits as an unemployed housewife while laundering her son’s profits, was said to have assets of £122,380 available to seize.
PAMatriarch: Authorities are chasing the fortune of Christine Fitzgibbon
A Rolex watch, cash in a bank account and £1,000 cash will go towards footing the bill as will the sale of the family home in Mossley Hill, in which she has equity.
It was at that house, in Edale Road, that police probing the drugs plot discovered carrier bags containing £182,800 in cash hidden under floorboards and in the central column of a dining room table.
That cash has already been confiscated.
Christine, who served two years after admitting money laundering, faces a further two years and eight months in jail if she cannot pay the bill within six months.
PADrugs: Heroin seized in Turkey as part of a £300,000 deal
She was also made subject to serious crime prevention (SCPO) and financial reporting orders aimed at curbing any possibility of a return to crime.
John Oakes, prosecuting, said: “She was, of course, an important figure in regard to the financial transactions carried out by Jason and Ian, as a result of their criminal activities.
“Though, in fairness, until they come out of prison she is not very likely to be doing anything of the sort again.”
The Fitzgibbons, whose violent exploits and feuds with rivals stretch back decades on Merseyside, were described as “tier one criminals at the top of their game” before an 18 month undercover operation left their empire in tatters.
Jason, 41, and Ian, 40, were jailed for a total of more than 30 years at Manchester Crown Court in June 2013 after their lucrative plan to import 57kg of heroin from Turkey was uncovered.
PAFortune: The home of Christine Fitzgibbon
Ian also admitted an £800k plot to flood Merseyside with 168,000 ecstasy tablets, for which his sidekick Danny Smith, of Warren Road, Blundellsands, was jailed for 10 years.
Detectives believe the brothers, who cultivated criminal contacts across Europe and South America, never had a legitimate income.
Both would frequently travel abroad for meetings with drug contacts in Colombia, Mexico, Spain and Turkey.
Jason Fitzgibbon, of North Sudley Road, Aigburth, was jailed for 16 years.
Ian, of Heigham Gardens, St Helens, was jailed for 14-and-a-half years after admitting his role was to sell on the Class A drugs in the UK.
He was also jailed over the plot to flood the region with MDMA.