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.

Source: http://menmedia.co.uk/news/s/1190383_jail_for_700000_fraudster

8 thoughts on “Jail for £700,000 fraudster”

  1. I have recently received 2 letters & now a phone call from a company called [edit*] in Oldham. Apparently, I accepted to have my advert in their “Child Safety Awareness Campaign” back in December 2009! One of the letters is now “threatening” to take my company off their contact list until I pay the outstanding amount of £99 for the 2009 advert which I have no record of. I am sending them a letter telling them that unless they can send me proof of this acceptance they aren’t going to be paid a thing! Sound familiar? [* company name removed as we are currently assisting in an investigation into this company – Adscams]

  2. I’ve just had a call from a company based in Oldham thanking me for my support of their drug awareness campaign booklets. I told her I have no idea what she’s talking about as I haven’t undertaken any advertising. She insisted that I had agreed to support thier booklets but I told her again I had no idea what she was talking about. Finally she hung up. Another scam targeting businesses no doubt! Hope this helps anyone that might be considering agreeing to something over the phone…

  3. Our business is based in Leigh Lancashire, we have a shop and a website. Today we received a call saying we had agreed to advertise in a community magazine. They had the business owners first name and stated that this had been discussed a few weeks before. We were targetted like this last year, so we know of the scam. However, these people are very convincing. Seems it’s the old scam doing the rounds again under a different guise…Take care folks

  4. Well we have had yet another round of this, and the voice who rang back (on a number witheld) sounded uncannily like the previous round we had back in 2009 which included React Publications.
    So it sounds like they are at it again

  5. I received a call today from Zoe at the Teenage Information Bureau.  I was aware this may be a scam from the outset as she referred to 'support' I had agreed to.  I said that this sounds like a scam and I have not agreed to any such support.  She did leave a number and there is a web site for the TIB with an address in Stockport. 

  6. Unfortunately I have been caught out by this scam – I have never received any booklets and the guy on the phone is always over the top grateful – and yes they promise that it is the last time I will be asked to support the campaign then insist the following time that there had been an agreement to take part in a further campaign.
    Stupid of me I know but it won't happen again – an expensive lesson to learn so beware !!

  7. It seems they are at it again as we were contacted last week with a glossy certificate and invoice with a letter of thanks.  I have warned all of my contacts via social media and thinking of contacting the press.
    Thanks Maddy

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