Woman jailed for £1.9 million escort ad fraud

12/10/2012

A woman has been jailed for offering fake escort services.

Claire Miller has been sentenced to three years and nine months at Liverpool Crown Court for using the internet and newspapers to advertise fraudulent services for recruitment, escorts and chaperones.

Andrew West, Crown Advocate for the CPS Central Fraud Division, said: "Claire Miller amassed nearly £1.9 million from fraudulent companies such as 'Ford Escort Services.'

"Millers tactics were wily as she knew that those applying for jobs as escorts and chaperones were less likely to make a complaint to the police when the £250 administration fee they paid vanished into thin air.

"Miller used money she fraudulently amassed to fund a lavish lifestyle, regularly travelling between the UK, Spain and Gibraltar. She purchased designer jewellery and was the owner of a Mercedes Benz M Class. When police searched her property they found 33 pairs of designer shoes, most still in the wrappers, and 11 designer handbags. 

"This case shows that before handing over money, people need to know exactly what they're paying for and how they are protected." 

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Background:

To date 40 victims have been identified. But the court was told that given the amount of money taken from each person, and the total amount gained in the fraud, it was estimated that Claire Miller has defrauded over 7,000 people in a five year period.

A website was used to attempt to give the fraud credibility. This website stated that the office premises for the company were located within Canary Wharf in London. The company had not so such office space at Canary Wharf.

Applicants were asked to provide a fee upfront of around £250, which they could transfer into a bank account either by the internet or by going into their bank branch. If they did not immediately sign up and pay up, they would be contacted soon after and were told that there was a job waiting for them, which they would be given on payment of the fee.

 Claire Louise Miller, originally of Liverpool, was born 5 September 1980.