A gangster dubbed ‘The Fat Man’ has been given three months to pay back £630,000, to avoid a longer prison sentence.
Having been a part of the criminal underworld for 20 years, Thomas Maher spent an eye-watering sum on luxury cars, and Rolex watches.
Now, the criminal must repay his debt to society in the next three months or face an extra six years behind bars.
Maher had initially come to the agency’s attention after being arrested for his involvement in the death of 39 migrants in a lorry.
Though a tractor he’d owned had been involved in the horrific crime, Essex police would eventually release him with the NCA keeping close tabs on Maher.
During this time, officers learned that he’d had been using a haulage firm as a front to move money and drugs.
He was even seen meeting with other underworld criminals at restaurants and hotels in the Northwest, whilst he was under surveillance.
NCA investigators also noted that the criminal had a love of fast food, regularly ordering gourmet burgers to his home in Warrington – although it’s unclear whether this is where his nickname started.
It gave him ample time to build his vast collection of luxury cars, which included an SUV, a muscle car and a BMW.
He also indulged his passion for high-end watches with a collection worth over £600,00, despite him and his wife being listed as earning below minimum wage for tax purposes.
Maher’s lavish lifestyle would soon catch up to him though.
In 2020, the Irishman was arrested for money laundering and drug offences over his 20-year career after police decrypted messages about his vast network.
The NCA and other agencies were able to show he’d been communicating with other criminals using EncroChat, as he helped some of Europe’s biggest crime groups move drugs around the world.
He was later sentenced to 14 years and eight months in December of the same year.
And in the latest turn of events, a judge at Liverpool’s Crown Court yesterday (22 May) gave a confiscation order for £629,159.15, with his home, luxury cars, jewellery and watches all being listed as assets.
Rob Burges, head of Asset Denial at the NCA, said that it showed the ‘agency’s ability to recover criminal assets, and prevent criminals from benefiting from their wrongdoing’.
He went on to add: "The confiscation order will ensure money he made will be returned to the public purse to fund further efforts to protect the public from organised crime.”Featured Image Credit: PA / Alamy / National Crime Agency