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May 12, 2015

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PALMER:PENSIONER GAVE INVESTMENT CON VICTIM BOTTLE OF RED WINE

GAMSTON, NOTTS A pensioner was placated with a bottle of red wine when he lost his £154,000 life savings investing in a sham gold mining company, a court heard. The fraudsters duped 61 investors out of £1.8 million and often they only got a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates in return. Gilbert Palmer, was a 'typical' target for the conmen and ploughed a fortune into the scheme. 'He was at the time of the fraud in his late 60s and looking to invest his life savings and his pension pot,' said prosecutor Gareth Mundy.
  May 12, 2015

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JAMES:FORMER MAYOR OF GLASTONBURY TO FACE RETRIAL

HALE, PENZANCE, CORNWALL; GLASTONBURY, SOMERSET A former mayor of Glastonbury accused of involvement in a £19.5m fraud is facing the agony of a retrial. Edward James, 75, maintains he left Cornish firm Crown Currency Exchange before it folded in 2010, leaving 12,500 customers out of pocket. James, the only defendant to give evidence at the trial, was found guilty of two counts of fraudulent trading relating to the days immediately before the collapse. But jurors were hung on two charges of fraudulent trading for the period October 2006 to December 2010 following the three-month long trial and the CPS are seeking a retrial.
 
May 12, 2015

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BHAKIA MUTHU: CROOKED BANK CLERK SWINDLED A FORTUNE

EAST HAM/TOOTING A crooked NatWest bank clerk who plundered £87,000 from customers' accounts using stolen cheque books is facing jail. Bhakia Muthu, 33, used her position as a customers services advisor at a branch in Tooting, south London, to intercept the cheque books destined for individuals and businesses. Fraudsters, armed with the customers' signatures, then wrote out a string of dodgy cheques to raid the accounts. Fourteen customers fell prey to Muthu's scheme between February and April 2012, the Old Bailey heard. She claimed to have been framed by a mystery man who was using her account and log-in details, but a jury found her guilty on all 14 counts of fraud.
  May 11, 2015

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BRICKNELL:SHAMED PARISH COUNCILLOR JAILED FOR MOD SCAM

MEASHAM, LEICESTERSHIRE A disgraced former parish councillor who conned the Ministry of Defence out of £160,000 with a dodgy training scheme for ex-servicemen was jailed for two years and three months. John Bricknell, 48, fiddled expenses for hotel and food bills for former soldiers hoping to start new careers as gas engineers. Bricknell, who spent eight years in the armed forces, last hit the headlines after he was caught with a video of a woman having sex with a horse in 2012. The former councillor for Measham in Leicestershire was handed a conditional discharge over the illegal movie titled 'Horsey Style'.
 
May 11, 2015

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JUNEJA:TORY POLITICIAN LIED ABOUT CV TO LAND COUNCIL JOB

GUILDFORD, SURREY; BROMLEY, GREENWICH, SOUTH LONDON A local Tory politician who lied about her qualifications and posed as a barrister to get a job with the council is facing jail today (mon). Guildford borough councillor Monika Juneja put fake subjects and grades on her CV and falsely claimed she was a practicing lawyer. The 36-year-old forged a letter from the University of Greenwich claiming to have a 2:1 degree in sociology, when in fact she only got a third, to get a place at BPP Law School. When she failed to pass the bar exams three times she made another document claiming to be a qualified barrister.
  May 11, 2015

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MARCHMENT: BUSINESSMAN JAILED FOR £40M CORRUPTION PLOT

NEWBURY; HOOK A businessman who plotted with an international energy sector corruption ring to rig contracts worth 'in excess of £40m' was jailed for two years and six months today (mon). Graham Marchment, 57, confessed his role in the conspiracy on the day he was due to face trial at Southwark Crown Court for pocketing £28,000 by leaking confidential information. Marchment disclosed vital details of companies bidding for work on one of the world's largest oil and gas projects in Sakhalin, Russia, the QASR Gas Gathering Project in the Western Desert of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and the Singapore Parallel Train Project. Marchment worked as an agent for engineering firms including Staines-based JP Kenny and at multinational Fluor's office in Farnborough, Surrey at the time of the allegations that date between 2004 and 2008.
 
May 11, 2015

COATES: SOLICITOR FACING TRIAL OVER £1M FRAUD

SELSEY, WEST SUSSEX A solicitor accused of a £1m fraud on clients at two law firms in West Sussex will stand trial in September. Emma Coates, 46, is said to have diverted funds into her personal bank account while working at CK Solicitors and Coates and Co in Selsey. Coates was allegedly involved in the disappearance of around £900,000 from CK Solicitors between 15 January 2007 and 31 May 2011. She is accused of fraud by abuse of position along with Simon Kenny and Stephen Hiseman, both 58. Kenny and Coates are also accused of false accounting.
  May 11, 2015

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MOTE:UKIP MEP BENT RULES 'SLIGHTLY' IN HIS FAVOUR

ALTON, HANTS A former Ukip MEP accused of fraudulently pocketing nearly £500,000 in expenses admitted he bent the rules 'slightly in my favour'. Ashley Mote, 79, was elected as a member of Nigel Farage's party but was kicked out of Ukip after being taken to court for benefits fraud. Mote allegedly netted hundreds of thousands of pounds in Parliamentary Assistance Allowance, said to be for political research and legal and constitutional advice. But he splashed £67,000 to fund his defence and connected appeals after he was prosecuted for dole fraud and spent thousands more promoting Ukip, Southwark Crown Court heard.
 
May 11, 2015

LESFRANCE:CONMAN DUPED TAXMAN TO FEED HORSERACE ADDICTION

WEMBLEY, NORTHWEST LONDON A conman who duped the taxman out of more than £300,000 to feed his addiction to online betting on horseraces was jailed for three years. Neil Lesfrance, 50, falsely claimed VAT repayments to his internet technology company for more than two years using bogus invoices. He backed up the fraud by boasting of having £2m in the bank and a property portfolio raking in £9,000 a month. But when inspectors from HMRC asked to see his paperwork he claimed that his house had been burgled of £1.5m of property.
  May 07, 2015

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ABUKAR: PENSIONERS CONNED TO FUND ISIS JIHAD

CORNWALL, HOLLOWAY, STOKE NEWINGTON, FINSBURY PARK, LUTON, AMPTHILL, BEDS, CHRISTCHURCH, DORSET; CANTERBURY Pensioners in their nineties were scammed out of around £160,000 which was used to fund ISIS fighters in Syria, a court heard today (thurs). Seven victims, including a 96-year-old pensioner, were conned into handing over the cash through a telephone 'vishing' fraud between February 2014 and May 2015. One Cornwall-based victim lost £130,000 to the scam, it is said, with the money being used to pay for the travel of UK nationals to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS. The court heard the alleged victims, from across the UK, were elderly, vulnerable, and suffering from a range of disabilities.
 
May 07, 2015

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BENSTEAD: FRAUSTER KILLED HIMSELF IN HIS CAR AS JURY DELIBERATED

CORNWALL The maverick director of a doomed currency exchange company that collapsed leaving 12,500 people £19.5m out of pocket killed himself days before jurors returned their verdicts, it can now be revealed. Peter Benstead, 72, hid mounting losses while plundering customer cash to fund a lavish lifestyle of luxury property and cruises for himself and wife Susan Benstead, 70. He ploughed just under £1m into buying opulent home The Mews, in Penzance, weeks before his company collapsed and the couple enjoyed a second pad with a pool in the Dordogne. Benstead blew £84,000 on a motorhome, more than £55,000 on two luxury cruises and treated his family to a new Ford Galaxy worth £33,945. But his suicide means the public will never know what verdicts jurors reached for a string of fraud related offences. Jurors were informed of his death in private by Judge Michael Gledhill QC after they had returned verdicts on his co-defendants. 'It is obvious one or two of them were quite deeply affected by the bad news,' said Judge Gledhill. Clients of Crown Currency Exchange and Crown Holdings Ltd were promised 'exchange rates that could never make a profit' to undermine the competition.
  May 07, 2015

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SHAHAB REZA: JAIL FOR THE WOMAN AT THE CENTRE OF SIGN LANGUAGE FRAUD

PERIVALE, MAIDA VALE, HACKNEY The wife of a profoundly deaf conman who helped him carry out an £800,000 disability allowance scam wept as she was jailed for 22 month today (Thurs). Shahab Reza, 52, used the cash intended for society's most vulnerable to fund a lavish lifestyle of holidays across the globe and jewellery. He persuaded wife Shehnaz Reza, 54, who is also deaf, and son Dr Abbas Reza, 26, to take part by submitting fake invoices for sign language interpreters. Abbas was handed a six month sentence suspended for 18 months after Judge John Price said he had been 'under the influence' of his father. Cash was splurged on a luxury home, a £600,000 penthouse, gold jewellery, an £8,000 'flawless' diamond, a holiday to Dubai and a 'student jolly' to America.

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