Gangmasters told to repay illegal gains

Stasys Skarbalius and Virinija Skarbaliene
Stasys Skarbalius and Virinija Skarbaliene
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Gainsborough gangmasters told to repay £400,000 from ‘lavish’ illegal lifestyles

Stasys Skarbalius and Virginija Skarbaliene operated as illegal gangmasters from a home in Blyton between 2006 and 2010 after fraudulently setting up Scunthorpe-based business CV Staff Services.

They did it under a fake identity and in turn applied for licences from the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and mortgages to build a property portfolio.

During this time they facilitated hundreds of people into work in farming industries in Lincolnshire, Humberside, Yorkshire and East Anglia.

Off the profits of the business, which had an estimated turnaround of £12 million, they lived lavish lifestyles.

The sham was exposed in 2011 when Skarbalius’ bogus Dutch passport expired and he was unable to renew it for the purposes of the annual licence. Following a joint investigation by the GLA and the East Midlands Special Operations Unit the pair, originally from Lithuania, were convicted in June 2015.

The conviction was the first of its kind in the UK under a previously unused section of the Gangmasters Licensing Act relating to possession of a document known to be obtained improperly.

Both now of no fixed address, Skarbalius, aged 62, was jailed for two-and-a-half years and Skarbaliene, 58, received three years.

On Monday, January 9, Sheffield Crown Court heard how they had each received total benefits of £1 million from their criminal exploits.

They were served with confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act on their available assets — £187,219.85 for Skarbalius and £231,687.68for Skarbaliene — which they must pay within three months or face jail for another two years and three months.

Included in their assets are substantial bank account balances, recovered cash, cars and their four-bedroom detached home in Scotter.

Det Con Grant Bailey said: “They enjoyed a lifestyle of big houses, lavish holidays and access to substantial amounts of cash. It’s hard to reconcile the stark contrast to their agency workers, who earned just above the minimum wage and undertook honest days of labour at farms across the area to get by in this world.”