Jury considers verdict on £9m marketing fraud

court large 2The jury in the trial of four Norfolk men accused of perpetrating a £9m telemarketing fraud, designed to get people to pay to block nuisance calls and buy satellite warranties, has retired to consider a verdict.
All four defendants – Joe Lloyd, Kevin Thurston, Daniel Pye and Geoffrey Good – face two counts of conspiracy to defraud through what has been described as a “web of companies”.
The fraud involved tricking people into paying for a service to stop nuisance calls and for satellite warranties that were not needed.
The eight week trial, at Norwich Crown Court, started in the second week of January and has heard from 23 witnesses, including a former employee the Anti-Marketing Group, who resigned after just a single day at the business and alerted Trading Standards.
Nic Lobbenberg QC, prosecuting, said that Norfolk Trading Standards got involved as far back as April 2009, after receiving a number of complaints about the company Digital Warranty Care and warned the business about mis-selling.
But instead of addressing the issues and “putting their house in order” they set up another company, UK Digital Satellite, in Spain, using companies in the UK to process payments from consumers for warranties. Lobbenberg said: “Is that what honest businesses do?”
After more complaints, Trading Standards sent another letter in February, 2010, in which they warned again about mis-selling and the fact it could be regarded as a criminal offence, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Geoffrey Good claimed he made every effort to make sure there was no mis-selling but his main concern was the finance and administration not Trading Standards matters.
Under cross-examination, Good agreed he had been brought into the business because of his extensive experience, as he was a qualified chartered accountant and had held senior roles is various companies but added: “I never got involved in Trading Standards compliance.”
He also denied that he was brought in to provide a face of respectability. “My job was an administrative one and pulling the package together. I went there purely to be an accountant.”
A verdict is expected this week.

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