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Jail for £700,000 fraudster

ads_fraudA fraudster who deceived businesses into backing a bogus anti-drugs campaign has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Peter Kemp was charged with three others following an investigation into the fraud, which was worth at least £700,000, by Staffordshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit and Stoke-on-Trent City Council Trading Standards officers.

The 45-year-old, of Ack Lane East, Bramhall, led the conspiracy which involved setting up bogus publishing businesses that purported to produce anti-drugs leaflets for schoolchildren.

The businesses had names including The Publication Company (TPC), MM Publications (MMP), DotCom Publications (DotCom) and React Publications (React).

Kemp instigated call centres in Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport and Macclesfield which rang local businesses to persuade them to sponsor leaflets to be sent to a school of the donor’s choice. Upon payment, the donor received a sample leaflet but no leaflets were sent to the chosen schools.

Kemp pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to obtain property by deception between January 1 2005 and November 30 2007 to the approximate amount of £700,000 in July 2009.

Christopher Gibbs, 25, of Whiteacre Road, Ashton under Lyne; Michael Schaffer, 23, of Cotswold Road, Stockport, and Denis Earle, 33, of Heath Street in Chesterton, Newcastle, all pleaded guilty to the same offences.

Gibbs, Schaffer, and Earle were all sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court in September 2009 to 12 months in prison suspended for two years with 250 hours unpaid work. Kemp failed to attend court for sentence and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He surrendered to the courts last Wednesday and was sentenced on Tuesday.

DC Nick Walker, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “Kemp played the lead role in the conspiracy. He influenced every aspect of the businesses and tried to hide his identity by using a number of aliases. He was involved in recruiting, training, drafting telephone scripts and setting up and organising the call centres for all the businesses.

“The bogus businesses were vehicles for fraud created by the defendants to give a veneer of respectability to their dishonest enterprise. The sales pitch used by the telephone operators, which was scripted by the defendants, promoted what appeared a worthy cause and played upon the public spirit of the people being called.

“The investigation saw close co-operation between Staffordshire Police and Trading Standards which highlights our determination to bring to justice fraudsters who prey on the good nature of small businesses.


Featured on BBC2 Working Lunch

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On 17 February 2010 I was very grateful to be asked to speak on the BBC 2 program Working Lunch.  The show had recently been contacted by many viewers who had complained of being contacted by these companies.

This is great news for us, because we now have the BBC aware of these companies again.  They have asked me to keep in touch which I will do, so please keep your reports coming in to me as I can bring these to the attention of the BBC and maybe we can get Watchdog involved at a later date.

There was some great advice from the show which I will be putting into a proper post later but to summarise:-

  1. Keep records of all your communications with the companies
  2. Ask the companies lots of questions about their company and publication
  3. If they say you agreed to advertise ask for proof
  4. If they threaten court action, Trading Standards have never seen ANY case go all the way to court

If you missed the show, you can see it here:

ALERT! – New Scam – Kids Activity Book Scam

One of our visitors emailed us today to detail a scam call she got, as follows:-

I had a call today to my mobile, the number was “blocked” and the voice on the other end was clearly from Liverpool with a deep scouse accent.

The usual introduction “Hi there, my name is Paul and I spoke to you back last year and at the time you said unfortunatly you wasnt in a position to help us but you very kindly said you would the next time around”

“We are now producing a KIDS ACTIVITY BOOK for disabled children in your area and we are just looking for a small donation from yourself and in return we will include a short mention about your company in the book”

“As you know, all proceeds will be donated to local charities of disabled children in your area”

“Can I put you down for a credit card size advert or a smaller mention?”

My next question was – What company are you from?” – The reply was very vague and he said “community”, when I asked is that the name of your company he said YES !! (Strange name)

I told him that I wasnt in a position to help and I dont remember the call but he was VERY PUSHY and wouldnt go away.  In the past callers like this would normally put the phone down and call the next victim but not this guy.

He said the publication was going to print and he was desperate to sell his last few spaces.  He didnt want to dissapoint “the little kiddies” and our contribution would go a long way.

Still a NO from me

“ok as its you, I can do the insert for £50 with no vat”! NO, “ok what If I do it for £40?” NO,”£60 and I will give you a half page”


“OK, Il be honest with you – I get £10 commission for every one I sell and I need to meet my quota for the week or I will get fired – Can you help me out please?”


“You should come and work for us, your good at this!”

No thanks – Caller ends call.

As you can see, he took some talking out of and he was very pushy,  he wasnt agressive or nasty but very smarmy and determined.


Update me when site is updated

Core Media Concepts (post from our old forum)

By ColinP (Taken from our old forum)
Just a heads up, a company called Core Media Concepts (a trading name for Carroll-Dillon Publishing) have started up this practice and are contacting small businesses claiming a prior agreement to pay for a run of books aimed at school kids.The best advice is, if they send an invoice and sample (which they did to me), is to return the whole lot recorded and report it to Trading Standards for further investigation.

Link: Also featured on

Link: and on firetop

Link: On The guardian website, scroll down the page its around half way

Link: more info for you

Scam Targeting Alternative Therapists & Practitioners

I was wondering if you can help not only spread the word about a scam going on and stop people getting ripped off, but also help in catching and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

About 18 months ago a company called AdPlaz TV, based in Blackpool, were phoning alternative therapists up across the country selling advertising space on Plasma TV systems being installed in local hospitals. The rates were good and in theory you had a captive audience outside outpatients or in A&E. It was a con, there were no Plasma screens and eventually the company went into liquidation and stopped trading…having made thousands on selling advertising that was never going to be.

I admit, I was conned and lost £600.00, but had to put it down to experience.

Then some 8 months ago I was phoned by a company with the same selling techniques from Blackpool again, claiming to sell advertising on the back of appointment cards for the local Dr’s Surgery. Having been once bitten and still smarting from the TV escapade I declined. When I thought about it in slow time, I realised the likely hood of a GPs surgery allowing a Hypnotherapist to advertise on their appointment cards was unlikely as it would appear to be endorsing the therapist and they didn’t even know me. So I checked….no such cards were being printed. Course I was now cross cos I couldn’t remember the name of the company to report them.

Then last week I had a call from a woman with a Blackpool accent claiming to be phoning from Ascot Medical Centre and offering cheap advertising on Plasma TV screens….I was driving so couldn’t write anything down, but I challenged her about who the parent company was she hung up. I phoned Ascot Medical Centre who are not having any such TVs installed.

It is quite clear this is the same company reformed, they are going round using yellow pages and hitting time and time again.


A: we need to warn as many as possible not to get caught up in it

B: If anyone does get a similar call if they can try and gently get the company name and details (the phone always comes through as an anonymous call) and gets the details to the local police, and try and get this charade stopped once and for all.

Any information that can be gleaned can and should be passed to the local police who will treat it as fraud.