Men sentenced for serious fraud


Today at Worcester Crown Court, Geoffrey Stevens, 68, and George Winsdor, 27, both from the West Midlands area, were sentenced for their parts in a serious fraud.

Stevens, who was sentenced in his absence, received 6 years imprisonment and Windsor received 2 and a half years imprisonment.  Deen Stevens, 32, will be sentenced at a later date.

Stevens and Windsor were found guilty at a trial earlier this year. Deen Stevens pleaded guilty at the beginning of a trial last year.

These men operated firms who used a cold calling scheme to small businesses, in the Midlands and South West, whereby a salesman would offer assistance in obtaining a loan under the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme. An advance fee was required to pay an accountant to complete a business plan and payment was accepted by cheque. Cheques were immediately paid into accounts or cashed at cheque cashing facilities. The vast majority of the small businesses never received a loan. When these businesses queried the failure of the loans to materialise, they were met with excuses of various types.

David Elliott, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Mercia said after today's sentencing: "These offences were planned, prolonged, persistent, organised and executed over a considerable length of time in order to obtain large sums of money. 

"They involved advance fee frauds on small businesses and identity thefts in order to drain money from bank accounts and credit cards.  The actions of the defendants caused considerable loss to those involved. 

"West Mercia Police carried out a thorough investigation and we are pleased that we have secured a conviction in this case. 

"We will now consider whether we can confiscate the culprits' assets to deprive them of their wrongdoing."