A couple lived in a luxurious home while making their “slaves” live in grotty caravans outside.
Dariusz Parczewski, 48, and wife Bozena Parczewska, 47, took control of the men’s identity documents and bank details and used them to fraudulently claim benefits between 2010 and 2014. One man was also found to have been forced to work, but was only given a small amount of cash to live on.
The couple had lavish decor and top-of-the-range appliances in their home in Tiverton Close, Aspley.
Meanwhile seven men were forced to live in two caravans parked outside, which were described as extremely filthy, untidy and in a poor condition. The men had to use a basic bathroom in the garage.
Video footage shown to the jury at Nottingham Crown Court highlighted the stark difference in living conditions within feet of each other.
The couple’s son Krystian Parczewski, 29, of Harwill Crescent, Aspley, was also involved in the fraudulent benefit claims, the court heard.
A Nottinghamshire Police investigation found that they targeted people with previous convictions or the homeless due to their troubles in obtaining employment. They then threatened to harm them if they did not do as they were told.
One of the victims said he met the family in Poland and was promised he would be housed and given work in the UK earning up to £260 a week. But when he arrived he was made to live in a caravan and was forced to have his wages from his job at Sports Direct paid into Dariusz Parczewski’s account – and was only given half in cash.
Officers found evidence that Dariusz Parczewski and Bozena Parczewska were involved in 27 different fraudulent benefit claims, including Carer’s Allowance and Disability Allowance.
In a search of their house in Tiverton Close, officers recovered Polish passports and ID documents relating to numerous people, 13 bank cards in different people’s names hidden behind a sink pedestal in the bathroom, as well as cash, mobile phones and bank receipts.
Officers also searched Krystian Parczewski’s home and found an iPad which had photos of debit cards and documents relating to benefits claims in the names of others – many relating to claims which Dariusz Parczewski and Bozena Parczewska were involved in.
The investigation was launched in November 2013 after one of the victims approached the police asking for their assistance.
The defendants had failed to appear at the trial at Nottingham Crown Court and were tried in their absence.
Dariusz Parczewski and Bozena Parczewska were each charged with one count of forced labour and three counts of fraud. Dariusz Parczewski was found guilty on all counts today (Tuesday 4 July). Bozena Parczewska was found to have carried out all of the acts but was said to be unfit to plead to the charges on the grounds of her mental health.
Krystian Parczewski was found guilty of twocounts of fraud.
The judge issued Crown Court bench warrants for the trio and Nottinghamshire Police will work with the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue European arrest warrants to bring them back before the court.
Detective Inspector Gareth Harding, who led the investigation, said: “This was an extremely complicated investigation that required some painstaking work to untangle the web of deceit in relation to the benefit claims. All these links led back to the family. These defendants exploited individuals and the benefit system at a time when the country was suffering from the financial crisis and subsequent austerity. They made substantial financial gains from the labour of others and the abuse of the benefits system.
“Nottinghamshire Police, working with our partners at DWP, HMRC and Nottingham City Council, worked tirelessly to secure this conviction and I am grateful for the hard work and commitment shown by all involved in the case.
“This conviction further reinforces the fact that Nottinghamshire Police is determined to combat modern slavery in all its forms and ensure that we make Nottinghamshire a difficult environment for these criminals to operate in.”