FOUR people have been jailed for fraud offences after helping to scam thousands of pounds from people across the country.
Thomas Moffett, Elliot Reed, Nancy Shaw and Gary Oliphant were part of a group of 18 people sentenced for offences including conspiring to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering.
Lancashire Police made the arrests following two investigations.
The first investigation involved 32-year-old Moffett, of Bridge End in Barley, who was arrested by police in January 2013 for alleged offences as owner of Moth Communications Limited.
He ran the company from his bedroom at a former address in St Aidan’s Close, Blackburn.
Victims were told that they owed a debt and it should be paid immediately, otherwise bailiffs and the police would come to their address and seize property to the value of what was owed, usually several thousands of pounds.
The court heard that during October 2011 to December 2012, £127,000 of fraudulent cash to passed through his bank account.
The court heard how vulnerable people were targeted, including elderly owners of bed and breakfast hotels.
Officers found Moffett’s offences were linked to a second investigation involving Nancy Shaw, 50, Elliot Reed, 38 and Gary Oliphant, 42.
Shaw, from Pemberton Street, Blackburn, set up a business called The Business Hub Directory Ltd, while Reed, of Clitheroe Road, Whalley established a company called The Business Directory SEO UK Ltd.
The court heard Shaw allowed £59,000 of fraudulent cash to pass through her account between September 2012 and August 2013, while Reed’s company took £78,000 from victims between May 2012 and July 2013.
More than a dozen offenders involved in the network allowed their personal accounts to be used to launder the fraudulent money.
Oliphant admitted to money laundering and also allowing his home to be used for the purpose of fraud. He said he was aware of the scam and was present while some of the calls werehad been made.
Det con Jane Challenger, of Lancashire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, was responsible for the investigation into Moffett.
She said: “This was a sophisticated fraud investigation in relation to a boiler room scam. Victims were bombarded with telephone calls. The calls were threatening and aggressive, stating they owe for a debt and that the payment should be made immediately.”
“Victims felt pressurised to pay the money, some parting with life savings and in other cases being forced to close down their businesses.”
Det con John Banks, of Blackburn CID, responsible for the second investigation with det con David Gill, added: “The investigation into Shaw, Reed and Oliphant was extensive and involved dealing with hundreds of victims throughout the country.
“The impact on the victims has not only been detrimental financially but also physically and mentally with some victims losing their businesses and becoming seriously ill as a result of these crimes.
Moffett, 32, was sentenced to two-years and 10 months in prison, Reed, 38, two-years and two months’ jail and Shaw, 50, two-years. All pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Oliphant, 42, of Campbell Street, Blackburn, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering, sentenced to and was jailed for two-years, and five months’ jail.
The following also pleaded guilty to money laundering as part of the scam: Marcus Moss, 44, of Vicarage Lane, Wilpshire, was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two-years.
He was given 200 hours’ unpaid work; Reginald Gregory, 53, of Ivinson Road, Darwen, sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for two-years.
He was given a 35-week curfew and electronically monitored; Samuel Dysart, 22, of Haslingden Road, Blackburn, sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two-years.
He was given 280 hours’ unpaid work; Zak Deaffern, 25, of Ratcliffe Street, Darwen sentenced to 22 weeks in prison suspended for two-years.
He was given a 26-week curfew and 12 months’ supervision;
Joanne Orr, 25, of Tythebarn Street, Darwen, was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two-years.
Anthony Lucas-Brewer, 32, of Cavendish Street, Darwen, receivedwas given a two-year community order and £500 fine;
Lauren Poland, 27, of Marsh House Lane, Darwen, was given a 26-week curfew and electronically monitored;
Bryan Baron, 40, of Moorfield Avenue, Ramsgreave, was given 170 hours’ unpaid work;
Christopher Hayes, 38, of Selkirk Close, Blackburn, was given a two-year curfew, electronically monitored for 20 weeks and a supervision order of 18 months;
Coleen Turner, 42, of Douglas Place, Blackburn, was given a two-year community order and 26 week curfew;
Gary Brown, 42, of Wood Street, Darwen, was given a two-year community order and 200 hours unpaid work;
Michael Middlehurst, 35, of Powell Street, Darwen, was given 12 months in prison suspended for two-years;
Sharyle Connor, 40, of Fawcett Close, Blackburn, was given a two-year community order;
Kevin McAuley, 35, of Seacole Close, Blackburn, was given a two-year community order and 200 hours unpaid work.