Three Norfolk men who have been in court over an alleged £9m telemarketing fraud are facing a retrial in January next year after the jury failed to reach an agreement following the eight-week legal case.
The jury of six men and six women found a fourth man – Geoffrey Good of Norwich – not guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud between August 1 2008 and December 31 2013.
However, they were in deadlock over the remaining defendants, Joe Lloyd, Kevin Thurston and Daniel Pye, despite being given a majority verdict ruling.
The trial, at Norwich Crown Court, started in the second week of January and heard from over 23 witnesses, including a former employee of PLT Anti-Marketing, who resigned after just a single day at the business and alerted Trading Standards.
The alleged £9m fraud involved hundreds of thousands of telemarketing calls designed to get people to pay to block nuisance calls as well as for satellite warranties that, it is claimed, were not needed.
Norfolk Trading Standards got involved as far back as April 2009 – just two years after the business was founded – after receiving a number of complaints and warned the company about mis-selling.
But instead of addressing the issues the directors are alleged to have set up another company, UK Digital Satellite, in Spain, using companies in the UK to process payments from consumers for warranties.
In April 2013, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) presented a winding up petition to close down the business in the public interest. However, despite six court hearings it is understood the issue still has not been resolved.
According to Companies House, the business is still active, with Kevin Thurston as the sole remaining director out of the three charged. It even has its own Facebook page, which brazenly flags up rogue practice from others in the sector, although this has not been updated since June 2013.
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