At the end of February 2018 we received the breaking news of the Stafford Crown Court who sentenced 9 men over a large-scale operation falsely claiming to sell timeshares.
This is great news, and the different media published articles about this sentence and the people involved.
Having a closer look at who the people are that were sentenced and the companies we know so far they were involved with, we surely think the fraud was of a much larger scale than the ones included in the sentence which are only over the years 2012 to 2015.
Mindtimeshare holds a lot of information about the people mentioned in this court sentence and the companies they are connected with.
And we want to share this information with the consumers and we are going to do so in a couple of articles we will be publishing over the next days.
Appearing at Stafford Crown Court between 21 and 23 February were:
- Brian Carr, 31, from Redditch: Charged with conspiracy to defraud and perverting the course of justice. Sentenced to six years and eight months in prison and disqualified from holding the position of company director for ten years.
- Daniel Carr, 24, from Redditch: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to four years in prison.
- Craig Walker, 27, from Redditch: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to three years in prison.
- James Barrass, 37, from Norwich: Charged with money laundering. Sentenced to two years in prison.
- Matthew Barker, 25, from Bromsgrove: Charged with fraudulent trading. Sentenced to one year and one month in prison, suspended for one year and six months, and 250 hours of unpaid work.
- Steven Cross, 37, from Worcester: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to six months in prison.
- Dawn Gingell, 55, from Hampshire: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to three years and six months in prison.
- Brendan Hicks, 28, from Redditch: Charged with fraudulent trading. Sentenced to one year and one month in prison, suspended for one year and six months, and 250 hours of unpaid work.
- Alan Sharp, 66, from Norwich: Charged with money laundering. Sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for a year, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
The frauds were committed between 2012 and 2015, and most of the time they targeted vulnerable people such as the elderly and those in poor health.
In many cases, a three-part scam took place.
As per the sentence, the scam began at the Cavell House office blocks in Norwich, by a man called Brian Carr.
This scam involved contacting timeshare consumers through cold calls, between 2012 and 2015 and claiming to have buyers ready for them, before demanding an upfront ‘notary fee’.
In the first part of the scam, the victims were cold-called by members of the group and falsely told that prospective buyers had been found for their timeshare properties, most of which supposedly in Spain.
Upfront ‘fees’ were sought by the fraudsters to support the fake transactions. Further attempts to gain yet more money was then made under the pretence that ‘sales had fallen through’ and needed more funding.
In the second part, the fraudsters adopted different names and company names to contact those who had lost money. They then made false offers of further schemes and transactions to help the victims mitigate their losses.
And in the third part, the group contacted victims and pretended to be from the Spanish authorities. They stated that the funds would be returned to the victims’ bank accounts for an up-front fee.
Judge Jonathan Gosling said the fraud was ‘deliberate and sustained’ and a great deal of work was put in to set up the scam.
Offices were rented, initially in Norwich, and later in Redditch and Bromsgrove, telephone and merchant chip and pin payment facilities were established, numerous bank accounts were opened and letter headings in the name of the ‘convincing sounding’ companies were produced – all using false details.
“It was a calculated and cynical fraud and was carefully planned to ensnare the victims without them becoming suspicious,” said Judge Gosling
He said there were no buyers and the victims were left ‘angry and devastated’ having lost their money.
“The cynicism was boundless as many victims were approached and fleeced a second time and, in a few cases, a third time,” he said.
In the next articles we will have a closer look at each one of the members of this fraudulent set up and the companies they are connected to.