Executive, 30, caught trying to fly to Dubai with £2m is facing jail

Executive, 30, caught trying to fly to Dubai with £2m is facing jail

06/03/2021

‘Party-loving’ Kim Kardashian-lookalike recruitment firm executive, 30, admits more than £5 million worth of money laundering offences after she was stopped at Heathrow Airport with suitcases full of cash

  • Tara Hanlon has admitted £5million-worth of money smuggling offences
  • Faces up to seven years in jail for three counts of removing criminal property 
  • She also pleaded guilty to attempting to remove £1.9 million in criminal cash 
  • Smuggled £1.4million on July 14, £1.1million on August 10, £1million on August 31

Tara Hanlon is the ‘party-loving’ Kim Kardashian wannabe arrested at Heathrow

A ‘party-loving’ Kim Kardashian wannabe has admitted smuggling £3.5million out of the country – and trying to bring another £1.9million to Dubai.

Tara Hanlon, 30, who worked for a recruitment firm in Leeds, left Yorkshire after telling friends she had landed a ‘lucrative’ new role in public relations. 

She now faces up to seven years imprisonment after admitting trying to remove £1,940,120 from the country, alongside charges of ‘removing criminal property, namely cash’ at Isleworth Crown Court.

Hanlon was caught with nearly £2million stashed in five suitcases at Heathrow airport on October 3, 2020 as she tried to board a flight to Dubai. 

Hanlon previously smuggled £1.4million out of the country on July 14, a further £1.1million on August 10 and £1million on August 31, the court heard.

Hanlon was stopped by customs officer Esher Mohammed at Heathrow Terminal 2 at around 8pm.

Investigators at the National Crime Agency said at the time the cash haul was ‘the largest such detection at the border so far in 2020.’

Hanlon appeared in court via video-link from her solicitor’s office in Leeds with her black hair in a ponytail, wearing a light blue suit jacket and a white top. 

A further count of conspiracy to remove criminal property will not be pursued at trial.

Addressing Hanlon, Judge Giles Curtis-Raleigh said: ‘You must attend this court early on 26 July, obviously it will be a prison sentence you must be ready for that, bring a bag.

Hanlon appeared in court charged with money laundering over the cash discovery (above) and was remanded in custody until November 5, when she appears at Isleworth Crown Court

Neighbours in the quiet Leeds cul-de-sac where she lives (above) say she is a ‘typical girl next door’ who offered to collect their shopping and walked her dachshund on a nearby green

‘The temptation may be not to attend on that day because know what is going to happen, but that would be a very grave error.

‘That would be a further serious criminal offence for which there would be consecutive prison sentence which would be much worse, the judge will listen carefully to what (Stephen) Grattage says on your behalf.’

Hanlon was bailed ahead of sentence at Isleworth Crown Court on July 26. 

Her arrest stunned her grandmother who claimed she was a hard-working career woman who ‘would never get involved in crime’. 

In an exclusive interview with MailOnline before her granddaughter admitted the crime, Maureen Downs, 80, said: ‘I know my granddaughter and she would never do anything like what she is accused of. She has a heart of gold.’


Hanlon (pictured left and right), 30, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on October 3 when Border Force officials found £1.9m stuffed into five suitcases

‘She is a lovely girl and she had never, ever been in in trouble.’

Suggesting her ‘naive’ granddaughter may have been the victim of a set up, she added: ‘I want to know if somebody switched her bags. I can’t see her having the confidence to go through an airport like that.’ 

Mrs Downs said Tara, from Leeds, was devastated by the loss of her mother at the end of March last year, saying: ‘My daughter died and we lost another relative to cancer. Tara was heartbroken. It has been a terrible year.’  

She added: ‘I can’t sleep and I hope I am going to wake up from this nightmare.’

Carefree Hanlon had worked as operations manager at international recruitment firm Goodall Brazier.

The company was founded by Porsche-driving Richard Goodall in 2009 with two members of staff. 

Hanlon’s grandmother said she struggled to cope after the death of her mother aged 53

In 2017 it recorded sales of more than £2 million and now employs more than 50 people. 

Mr Goodall, who raises funds for cancer charities, has seen the head hunting business expand into the EU as well as the US, where it has focused on hiring in the beauty industry. 

Its website says it conducts business in more than 60 countries across the world.

Party girl Hanlon, who underwent cosmetic surgery to try and look like her idol Kim Kardashian, faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted.   

Her grandmother went on: ‘Tara has never taken any drugs. She has always worked and when she was 14 she had a job at a golf club. She has always been working. She was into partying. She liked a bit of glamour did Tara.

‘She wanted to look like that Kardashian woman and she had her lips done like her.’

She said Tara had last been in a relationship four years ago, but her family were shocked to hear of her arrest as they didn’t even know she was flying to Dubai.

‘This has knocked us completely out,’ she said. ‘It has come from the blue. It really has.’

Hanlon had worked as operations manager at international recruitment firm Goodall Brazier, which has an office in Leeds (above)

She said Hanlon’s father Lenny had been doing his best to look after her and her two sisters as well as dealing with the grief of losing his wife Angela who died on March 27, 2020, aged 53.

‘Lenny is shocked and was already heartbroken for his wife. He is just trying to get over it.

‘Now he is fighting like hell for her, we all are as this is totally out of character. She never, ever, ever did anything wrong that kid. She smoked and that was about it.’

Richard Goodall (above) is chief executive at Goodall Brazier where Hanlon worked

Mrs Downs said she still regarded her granddaughter as a young girl because of the love and closeness between them.

‘I knew she was 30, but to me she wasn’t 30, she was still our young Tara.’

She said the family were rallying round to support her.

Hanlon listed her skills online as including exercise psychology, fitness training management, wellness coaching, insurance and underwriting.

Neighbours in a quiet cul-de-sac in Middleton, Leeds also spoke warmly of the smartly-dressed woman who was often seen walking her dachshund on the nearby green.

They said she would offer to pick up groceries for friends as she drove to the supermarket in her 2016 Mini Cooper.

When she threw a 30th birthday party at her detached home in September 2020, she impressed the other residents by sending a polite note in advance to apologise for any loud music and inviting them to come along.

One neighbour added: ‘She wasn’t your typical girl next door as she wore a fair bit of make-up and liked to live a party life. 

‘When I heard about what had happened to her, I could not believe it and kept thinking there had been a mistake. She would always smile and say hello.’ 

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