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Two men sentenced following corruption trial

Two employees of Smith and Ouzman Ltd, a printing company based in Eastbourne, have been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.  This follows an SFO investigation into corrupt payments made in return for the award of contracts to the company.

Smith and Ouzman Ltd specialises in security documents such as ballot papers and education certificates.  Its chairman, Christopher John Smith, aged 72 from East Sussex, was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, for two counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments, contrary to section 1(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, to run concurrently. He was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and has been given a three month curfew. 

Nicholas Charles Smith, the sales and marketing director of the company, aged 43 from East Sussex, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for three counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments, to run concurrently. The company itself was also convicted of the same three offences and will be sentenced at a later date.

Both men were disqualified from acting as company directors for six years.

Director of the SFO, David Green CB QC commented:

"This case marks the first convictions secured against a corporate for foreign bribery, following a contested trial. The convictions recognise the corrosive impact of such conduct on growth and the integrity of business contracts in the Developing World."

In passing sentence HHJ Higgins commented:

"Your behaviour was cynical, deplorable and deeply antisocial, suggesting moral turpitude."

A hearing has been scheduled to deal with confiscation proceedings against the company and the individuals on 19 October 2015.

Magnus Peterson sentenced to 13 years in prison

The former head of the collapsed hedge fund Weavering Macro Fixed Income Fund Ltd has been sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison, having been found guilty of eight counts of fraud, forgery, false accounting and fraudulent trading earlier this week.

Ulf Magnus Michael Peterson, 51, Otham, Kent, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court by Mr Justice Smith, who commented:

"You knew the risks that cheating entailed for investors …It was entirely foreseeable that investors would lose huge amounts. Sophisticated dishonesty on this scale calls for the maximum sentence possible."

Mr Peterson was convicted on Monday, 19 January, following a three month trial.

HP Autonomy investigation

The Director of the Serious Fraud Office has closed the SFO's investigation into the sale of Autonomy to the Hewlett-Packard company (HP) in 2011. This investigation was commenced in early 2013, following a referral from HP.

In respect of some aspects of the allegations, the SFO has concluded that, on the information available to it, there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

In respect of other aspects and on the application of well-established principles, jurisdiction over the investigation has been ceded to the US authorities whose investigation is ongoing.

Former JJB Sports head and co-defendants sentenced to total of 7 years

Three individuals have been handed prison sentences following their convictions for fraud, furnishing false information and attempting to pervert the course of justice as a result of a Serious Fraud Office investigation into JJB Sports plc (JJB).

Christopher Ronnie, former Chief Executive of JJB, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for three offences of fraud totalling around £1 million, to run concurrently, and 1 year in prison for two offences of furnishing false information, also to run concurrently.

David Ball and David Barrington, beneficial owners of Fashion and Sport Ltd, a company that sold clothing brands and supplied stock to JJB, were each sentenced to 18 months in prison for two offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice, to run concurrently.

The SFO's investigation into JJB centred on Mr Ronnie's failure to declare his interest in contracts entered into by JJB Sports with Fashion and Sport Ltd as well as attempts by Mr Ball and Mr Barrington to destroy evidence and mislead the SFO.

Handing down the sentence, HHJ Loraine-Smith said of Mr Ronnie's crime:

"It was very greedy.... this was a flagrant and disgraceful breach of your duty as a CEO of a plc.  It was dishonest in the extreme."

Total Asset Ltd fraud investigation

Six businessmen have been formally charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in relation to Warrington-based funder Total Asset Ltd (TAL) which collapsed with debts of about £150m in January 2011.

They appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 8 January 2015 in relation to the Serious Fraud Office investigation.

The six charged are Stephen Dartnell, George Alexander and Kerry Lloyd, formerly of TAL; Elfed Thomas and Carl Cumiskey, formerly of H2O Networks Ltd; and Simon Mundy, formerly of KBC Lease (UK) Ltd.

They have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in connection with the purchase of a number of agreements by KBC and Barclays Asset Finance from TAL.

Dartnell, Mundy and Lloyd were also charged with conspiracy to give corrupt payments in connection with the same agreements, which were referred by KBC to the SFO in October 2010.

Ukip councillor on trial over fraud

A Ukip councillor and former parliamentary contender will stand trial accused of offences linked to alleged electoral fraud.

Matthew Smith, 26, the Norfolk County Council member for Gorleston St Andrews who had been selected to stand for parliament for Great Yarmouth in the next general election, is one of three men due to appear at Norwich Crown Court.

Smith, of High Street, Gorleston, has denied six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers and three of making a false instrument with intent.

The charges relate to nomination papers put forward in the Norfolk County Council elections held in the Great Yarmouth district between March and April last year.

Michael Monk, 60, of Freeman Close, Hopton, and Daniel Thistlewaite, 19, of Station Road South, Belton, also both pleaded not guilty to one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

Auctioneers found guilty of fraud

An auctioneer who used thousands of pounds of customers' money to fund his lifestyle has been convicted of fraud.

Jonathan King, 66, of Cameo Auctioneers in Midgham, Berkshire, was found guilty on seven counts, including fraud by abuse of position.

His wife Beverley King, 62, was found guilty of acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property and her brother Glenn Norcliffe, 64, was guilty of three charges, including fraud.

The court heard the firm went bankrupt.

All three will be sentenced on 6 March.

'Fake' Chelsea footballer jailed for posing as Gael Kakuta

A failed footballer who posed as a Chelsea star to live a Premier League lifestyle has been jailed.

Manchester Crown Court heard Medi Abalimba went on a £20,000 shopping spree at Selfridges, stayed at top hotels and even hired a helicopter.

The player, who once commanded a fee of more than £1m but whose career failed to progress, masqueraded as France youth international Gael Kakuta.

Medi Abalimba, 25, admitted multiple frauds and was sentenced to four years.

Peter Howes jailed for swindling brother's share of £1.5m inheritance

A man who swindled his brother out of his share of a £1.5m inheritance has been jailed for more than four years.

Peter Howes, 53, of Lower Barn Farm, Lechlade, was executor of his mother's will and forged her and his brother's signatures to cash in trust funds.

He also took the proceeds of the sale of his mother Joyce's £1m house from her bank account.

During the three-week trial at Bristol Crown Court, Howes was found guilty of five counts of fraud.

He was sentenced to four years and four months in prison.

His wife Jane, 51, was acquitted of a single charge of fraud.

'Cowboy' builder Mark Jenkins jailed for £1.5m fraud

A "cowboy" builder has been jailed for five years for defrauding homeowners of up to £1.5m.

Mark Jenkins, also known as Mark Killick and Mark Richards, admitted taking large deposits upfront from customers without completing the work.

The prosecution argued he took £1.5m, but Jenkins told Bristol Crown Court the figure was about £573,000.

A total of 43 homeowners in Bristol, Clevedon, Weston-super-Mare, Merthyr Tydfil, and Cardiff were duped.

Injury claim fraudster Paul Gustar given suspended sentence

A fraudster who tried to claim damages for a non-existent injury at work has walked free from court.

Insurance giant Axa prosecuted Paul Gustar, from Cornwall, who lied about slipping on a wet floor and tried to claim a six-figure sum in compensation.

Gustar, 43, of Fore Street, Torpoint, dropped his fraudulent claim but Axa brought a prosecution against him and he was convicted of fraud.

The Truro Crown Court judge gave him a suspended 18-month sentence.

Bride Danielle Watson admits cancer claim fraud

A woman has admitted to fraudulently raising thousands of pounds ahead of her wedding by claiming she had terminal cancer.

Prosecutors said Danielle Watson, 24, of Rowhedge near Colchester, conned fundraisers in 2012 by claiming she needed to raise money for therapy.

The court heard she had already been given the all-clear by doctors.

Watson had denied the charges but changed her plea at a Basildon Crown Court hearing held in Southend.

Conman stole £40,000 then claimed he was a quadriplegic

A fraudster conned his neighbour out of £40,000 then pretended to be a quadriplegic and in a coma for two years to evade justice.

Alan Knight, 47, from Swansea, faked his condition but was caught by police going on shopping trips and holidays.

After he was caught, Knight admitted himself to hospital to avoid court hearings on "at least two occasions".

But he admitted to theft and forgery at Swansea Crown Court and faces jail when sentenced in November.

Former MEP Ashley Mote charged with fraud offences

A former MEP for South East England has been charged with fraud offences and misconduct in public office.

Ashley Mote, 78, who sat as an independent after being thrown out of UKIP, faces nine charges allegedly committed between 2004 and 2009.

They include obtaining a money transfer by deception, fraud by false representation, false accounting, and receiving the proceeds of crime.

Mr Mote, of Binsted, Hampshire, will appear before magistrates next month.

He was an MEP at the time of the alleged offences, but resigned his seat in 2009 prior to the European elections.

Rhyl charity fraudster jailed for 18 months

A man who swindled more than £20,000 from a charity he set up to help children with cancer has been jailed for 18 months.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard Martin Lawley, 59, and his wife, Angela, 55, used the funds for a holiday to the US.

After being interviewed by police last year, Lawley, from Rhyl, withdrew £14,000 to go to London and Edinburgh.

During the interview, he said: "I thought 'I'm nearly 60, I might as well have some fun before it's all over'."

Lawley admitted forging the names of two trustees and fraud by abuse of position involving the use of money from the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Fund. The charity was meant to supply toys, books, games and professional entertainers for children in hospital.

Sentencing him, Judge Niclas Parry said: "Any right-minded person would be sickened by what you have done.

"It beggars belief you stooped as low as to use the front of a charity to raise money for children suffering from cancer and leukaemia to deceive the public and fund personal expenditure."

Cornwall estate agency fraud: Tim Glasson jailed

An estate agent has been jailed for swindling his clients out of thousands of pounds.

Tim Glasson, of Camborne, Cornwall, committed a "very serious breach of trust" by "robbing Peter to pay Paul", Truro Crown Court heard.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark told the court an 87-year-old woman had lost £2,000 - "a small fortune" to her.

Glasson, 51, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud and was jailed for 21 months.

Judge Clark said: "This offence to which you have pleaded guilty reflects a very serious breach of trust over a two-and-a-half-year period."

Pilot jailed for £30m mortgage fraud

A former Virgin Atlantic pilot has been jailed for 14 years for committing a £30m mortgage fraud in Berkshire.

Mark Entwistle, 47, of Kensington, west London, recruited corrupt solicitors and accountants to approve his loan applications while he pretended to be a property developer based in Windsor.

In reality, he was spending the money at casinos in Las Vegas and on a luxury boat, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Two solicitors and an accountant were also jailed for fraud.

Cumbria Police Officer Charged with Fraud

A Cumbria Police officer and her husband have been charged following an inquiry into allegations of fraud.

Det Con Tracy Taylor, 42 and her 41-year-old husband Paul, both of Irthington in Carlisle, were arrested in March.

They are due to appear at South Lakeland Magistrates Court in Kendal on 8 October.

The charges follow an investigation by the force's Professional Standards Department.

£500,000 “crash for cash” scam

The ringleaders of an estimated £500,000 "crash for cash" insurance scam in Merseyside have been jailed.

Michael Lee, 51, and Brian Williams, 47, admitted making up a car accident in Oxton, Wirral in 2010 and submitting bogus insurance claims.

Lee, of Birkenhead, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to 12 months and Williams, from Bootle, to eight months.

Three other men from Birkenhead were given eight-month terms, suspended for two years.

Robert Davies, 57, of Dickens Avenue, Jon Realey, 28, of Fountain Street, and David Paul Thompson, 53, of Cambridge Road, had also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to dishonestly make false representations to make gain for themselves or others.

On sentencing Judge Andrew Menary QC said the "accident" was a complete pretence.

Arrests in £1 million fraud inquiry

Two further men aged 31 and 24 have been arrested as part of an inquiry into a £1m fraud in south-west England.

It is alleged the victims were contacted by a bogus police officer who persuaded them to send money by taxi or a courier driver to London.

A third man, aged 28, has agreed to voluntarily attend a police station for interview under caution.

It follows a series of raids in east London early on Monday.

Det Insp Tony Hubbard, from Avon and Somerset Police, said he believed many more people may have been targeted and hoped they would now come forward.

Last month two other men were remanded in custody as part of the three-month long police investigation.

Rahim Choudhrey and Abdul Shafee, both 18, of Tower Hamlets, east London are accused of 10 counts of conspiracy to defraud victims out of £168,000.

Bedford Council gets £562K over Hendrick Meniru fraud case

A council will receive more than £562,000 through the Proceeds of Crime Act following the prosecution of a fraudster involved in a junk mail scam.

Hendrick Meniru, from Bedford, was jailed for three years in 2013 by Luton Crown Court for fraud and unfair trading after a council investigation.

It found he persuaded customers to spend money based on bogus promises.

The money is set to be spent on local apprenticeships and "further legal and enforcement activities".

Bedford Borough Council Regulatory Services found Meniru operated a series of international scams, getting people to part with cash for supernatural help or help with winning competitions.

These included persuading elderly people to send $40 (£24) for a "certificate of blessing" from a personal wealth talisman. Others who thought they had won a £7,500 prize handed over £11.99, only to receive digestive biscuits.

Those duped by the scam also had to pay a $29 (£19) administration fee.

When trading standards raided his offices in Kimbolton Road, Bedford, in November 2010, they found letters of complaint.

At a trial in March 2013, a judge said Meniru, of Devon Road, preyed on the "vulnerable, gullible and financially compromised".

He was convicted of two charges of fraud and one of failing to comply with money laundering regulations and ordered to pay £3m plus costs of £200,000.

He had earlier been found guilty of two charges of unfair trading.

After a Proceeds of Crime Application (POCA), the council will receive the full costs plus £562,500 from the confiscation order.

It plans to set aside £450,000 to cover the employment costs for 15 places on its apprenticeship scheme over three years. Dave Hodgson, the mayor of Bedford Borough Council, said: "We want to ensure that something positive can come out of this appalling, callous crime."

Man guilty of swindling brother's share of £1.5m inheritance

A man has been convicted of swindling his brother out of his share of a £1.5m inheritance.

Peter Howes, 53, was found guilty of five counts of fraud at Bristol Crown Court. His wife Jane, 51, was acquitted of a single charge of fraud.

As executor of his mother's will, Howes forged his mother's and brother's signatures to cash in trust funds.

He also took the proceeds of the sale of his mother Joyce's £1m house from her bank account.

The pair will be sentenced at a future hearing.

Four jailed over £1.1m Basildon Hospital scam

Four health experts who executed a "well-planned" fraud at a hospital they nicknamed "Bas Vegas" have been jailed.

The group billed the NHS £1.1m for their firm's heart and lung services but only worked half their contracted hours at Basildon Hospital, in Essex.

Company managers Martin Oliver, 37, Ann Clements, 51, John Mulholland, 41, and Tom Cumberland, 42, were motivated by "greed", Judge David Owen-Jones said.

They had been convicted of conspiracy to defraud at Basildon Crown Court.

Judge Owen-Jones described the scam as "well-planned, organised and executed initiative".

He said: "While taking a salary from the NHS for a 37-and-a-half hour week, you worked elsewhere at other hospitals during NHS hours.

"You, all four, gravely abused the trust placed in you."

Delroy Facey in court over match fixing allegations

A former Premier League footballer has appeared in court charged with involvement in a match-fixing conspiracy.

Delroy Facey, 34, of Huddersfield, is accused of conspiring with four other men to commit fraud by way of bribery in November last year.

Mr Facey did not enter a plea during the two-minute hearing at Cannock Magistrates' Court.

He was bailed to appear at Birmingham Crown Court on September 19.

The ex-Bolton Wanderers, Hull City and West Bromwich Albion striker will appear alongside his co-accused, former non-league player Moses Swaibu, 25.

It is alleged Mr Facey plotted with Swaibu, of Bermondsey, to induce or reward others to "improperly perform their function" as professional footballers.

Mr Facey, who also played for Notts County, Tranmere Rovers and Lincoln City, was arrested in November as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into match fixing.