Four sentenced in elaborate High Street retailer fraud
February 22, 2013, 3:58 pm
Four people have today been sentenced at Manchester Crown Court for their part in an elaborate fraud which saw them posing as real employees of national retailers in order to acquire a vast range of high value goods from other companies. In all, around 40 companies were approached and the gang attempted to obtain £20m worth of goods. They did obtain over £2.7m worth of goods acquired on ‘thirty day credit agreements which were never honoured. The goods included 55,000 bottles of high-end champagne and whisky, vacuum cleaners, coffee machines, televisions, laptops and games consoles.
Simon Rowlinson, specialist fraud lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said:
“This was an audacious and extravagant scam carried out by family members and friends. Posing as real employees from McDonalds and Greggs Plc, these fraudsters convinced suppliers that they were dealing with genuine and reputable businesses, and so secured a huge range of high value items on thirty day credit agreements. Of course, when the thirty days had passed, the suppliers were met with silence having parted with their products.
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“With email addresses and a range of ‘0845 numbers that closely mirrored genuine business contact details, these fraudsters well and truly conned their way to goods worth in the region of £3m. Purchase orders were placed for items required for fictitious events including laptops for internet café style restaurants and over 55,000 bottles of whisky and champagne worth over half a million pounds for various corporate events, including the supposed 35th anniversary of McDonalds.
“The fraudsters method for moving the goods around was a complex one, but we were able to pull together a strong case from evidence gathered by investigators from Greater Manchester Police, including evidence from fingerprinting, voice analysis and handwriting experts, which linked the defendants to the many purchase orders and invoices.
“The CPS understands the damaging impact that fraud has on the legitimate businesses affected, especially at time of economic uncertainly. In this case, one small technology company was forced into bankruptcy by the fraud and 22 people lost their jobs. This is a clear example of how fraud is far from a victimless crime.
“Our specialist lawyers will continue to work hard to bring fraudsters to justice and ensure we deprive fraudsters of their illegal profits wherever possible.”
Kevin George Pomeroy pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 (McDonalds and Greggs the Bakers) and one count of converting the proceeds of criminal conduct contrary to section 327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
James Chapman pleaded guilty two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud (McDonalds and Greggs the Bakers).
Daniel Pomeroy pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in relation to Greggs the Bakers only. He had also pleaded guilty to similar offences in Bolton but went on the run before he could be sentenced for those offences. Daniel Pomeroy who was wanted for previous frauds in the Bolton area, later tried to flee to the Republic of Ireland but the Central Fraud Group issued a European Arrest Warrant and he was apprehended and brought to trial.
Julie Lee Pomeroy pleaded guilty to one count of converting the proceeds of criminal conduct.
Neither McDonalds nor Greggs Plc have had any financial loss as a result of the frauds; this has been suffered by the companies approached by the fraudsters. No criminal activity against any of the companies involved has been alleged.
Kevin George Pomeroy – 8.5 years
Daniel Pomeroy – 3.5 years
James Chapman – 3 years
Julie Pomeroy – 12 months suspended for 2 years and 150 hours of unpaid work