A bogus debt collection scam gang have been brought to justice after defrauding a pensioner businessman out of around £410,000.
The group, that fraudulently ripped the business owner, from Northallerton North Yorkshire, off over three years have now faced sentences in court.
Wayne Mark McCreery, 50, of St Andrews Road, Stretford, Trafford, Manchester, targeted the victim, who is aged in his 70s, between 2015 and 2018.
His co-accused Liam Dinsdale, 38, of Varley Street, Colne, Lancashire, was also due to be sentenced but was taken ill. He is expected to be back in court in February.
Between 2015 and 2018, they claimed they were from a debt collecting agency acting on behalf of the county court regarding outstanding business advertising costs.
They pressured the man into agreeing to pay regular instalments using the threat of him having to go to court.
The conspiracy to defraud continued up until October 2018 when North Yorkshire Police were alerted.
McCreery, who sometimes uses the surname Chadwick, and Dinsdale were arrested along with seven family members and friends who were later charged with money laundering.
The investigation was led by Detective Constable Neil Brodhurst from the Economic Crime Unit.
With the assistance of specialist financial investigators, DC Brodhurst was able to identify the crimes against the victim in North Yorkshire and others across the UK including in Northern Ireland.
In total, the loss to all the victims amounted to £472,896.20.
At Bradford Crown Court on Friday (January 12), McCreery was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.
The following had all pleaded guilty to money laundering and were sentenced to:
- Danielle Jade McCreery, 32, of Lodgepole Close, Eccles, Salford – 24 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years with a six-month curfew
- Jade Sutherland, 44 – 16 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months with a three-month curfew
- Penelope Lewis, 30, of Sandpiper Close, Farnworth, Bolton – Community Order for 12 months with 150 hours of unpaid work
- Marvyn O’Reilly, 39, of Densmore Street, Failsworth, Oldham – 9 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months with 200 hours of unpaid work
The following were found guilty of money laundering following trials in July and October last year and were sentenced to:
- Margaret Townson, 57, of Fern Street, Colne, Lancashire – Community Order for 12 months with 150 hours of unpaid work
- Krystal Anglin, 41, of Park Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside – 18 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months with 250 hours of unpaid work
- Kelly Mary O’Reilly, 44 – Community Order 12 months with 200 hours of unpaid work
DC Brodhurst said: “Wayne McCreery and Liam Dinsdale are cruel and calculated individuals who have previously served prison sentences for almost identical frauds in other parts of the country.
“They prey on vulnerable people for their greed for money at any costs.
“It has been a long and painstaking effort to secure justice for their victims. They have endured a great deal of upset and anguish from these criminals and the people close to them who laundered the money.
“The significant prison sentence handed to McCreery is satisfying for everyone connected to the investigation. I hope the victims can take some comfort from the outcome at court and again when Dinsdale is sentenced in February.”
DC Brodhurst added: “If you are contacted by someone who says they are working for the court, please use a different phone to contact the court directly before taking any action and seek advice from independent solicitors if there is a debt outstanding.
“Please do not allow other people to use your bank account or to set up bank accounts on their behalf as you may be committing an offence of money laundering.
“It is also crucial to report any concerns and suspicions to your bank and the police on 101 so action can be taken at the earliest opportunity.
“Don’t ever be afraid to seek help – we are here for you.”