Couple exploited desperate people looking for work
A couple who exploited "desperate people" looking for work, and kept their wages, have been jailed.
Alexander Goran, 30, controlled the wages of workers who he recruited from Romania with the promise of employment and shelter.
His victims were left to live in "cramped, sub-standard housing" in Merseyside while working at a factory in Greater Manchester.
He was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court alongside his wife Ana Marie, 34.
Goran exploited at least 41 workers, a spokesman for the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) - a public body set up to protect vulnerable workers and crack down on labour exploitation.
He controlled their wages, directed them to live in cramped, sub-standard housing, and even gave some of them false identities so that they could work two separate shifts, the GLAA said.
He arranged for the workers' wages to be paid into his wife's account but he deducted money for transport, arranging the work and accommodation, which left the workers with very little, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
After the couple were charged, they fled to Spain but they were later detained under a European arrest warrant.
"This was a corrupt operation where Goran took advantage of desperate people looking for work and took their hard-earned money," said Pamela Jain, from the CPS.
Both Ana Marie Goran and Alexander Goran admitted acting as an unlicensed gangmaster and aiding and abetting an unlicensed gangmaster.
Alexander Goran also admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position.
Ana Marie Goran was sentenced to 15 months while Alexander Goran was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.