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CPS and South West Regional Organised Crime Unit charging statement on a large-scale timeshare fraud

|News, Fraud and economic crime

The CPS has authorised the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) to charge 18 people with 79 counts related to a large-scale fraud targeting timeshare owners.

Ten people have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud between 1 January 2013 and 31 January 2017 while being directors, sales people and administrators of companies including Monster Group Travel, Monster Rewards and sellmytimeshare.com. They are:

  • Mark Rowe, 51, of Bishops Lydeard in Taunton and Los Blanquitos in Tenerife
  • Simon Walker, 55, of Costa Adeje in Tenerife
  • Louise Matthews-Oakenfold, 49, of Santa Cruz, Tenerife
  • Jodi Beard, 39, of Costa Adeje, Tenerife
  • Deborah Frost, 58, of Edificio El Jable, Tenerife 
  • Samantha McCaulay (nee Jackson), 48, of San Miguel De Abona, Tenerife
  • Joanne Physick, 42, of Los Christianos Arona, Tenerife
  • Paul Harrison, 51, of Osmington, Weymouth, Dorset
  • Nihat Salih, 53, of Upton, Poole, Dorset
  • Lisa Salih, 52, of Upton, Poole, Dorset

Two people have been charged with money laundering between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2017 while working as directors of Monster Credits:

  • Mark Rowe (as above)
  • Nicola Rowe, 50, of Bishops Lydeard in Taunton and Los Blanquitos in Tenerife.

Two women have been charged with committing fraud between 1 August 2015 and 31 December 2017 while working in administrative roles:

  • Deborah Frost (as above)
  • Samantha McCaulay (nee Jackson, as above)

Nine people have been charged with six separate fraud incidents each, as well as committing fraud against the purchasers of Monster Credits between 1 October 2016 and 31 January 2017. They are:

  • Paul Harrison (as above)
  • Barry Fox, 66, of Battenhall Place, Worcester
  • David Taylor, 62, of Shiptonthorpe, East Yorkshire
  • Paul Fowler, 63, of Wimborne Road, Bournemouth
  • Lee Evans, 48, of Walmer Bridge, Preston, Lancashire
  • Nihat Salih (as above)
  • Lisa Salih (as above)
  • Ian Frost, 50, of Edificio El Jable, Tenerife
  • Josephine Cuthill-Fox, 57, of Battenhall Place, Worcester

Joanne Taylor, 47, of Shiptonthorpe, East Yorkshire, has been charged with five separate fraud offences and committing fraud against the purchasers of Monster Credits between 1 October 2016 and 31 January 2017.

Finally, in addition to the conspiracy, Louise Matthews-Oakenfold (as above), has also been charged with three forgery offences and Simon Walker (as above) has been charged with three fraud offences.

Peter Highway, senior investigating officer from the SW ROCU, said: “This is clearly a significant step forward in a complex fraud investigation that began more than five years ago and has affected thousands of people who have collectively invested upwards of £25 million.”

Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor said: “The CPS has reviewed a file of evidence from South West Regional Organised Crime Unit and has authorised the investigation team to charge 18 people with 79 offences related to a timeshare fraud.

“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against these defendants are now active and that they have the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

Notes to editors

  • Peter Highway is Senior Investigating Officer for the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit
  • The SW ROCU is part of a ten-strong national network of regional organised crime units that works to target and disrupt serious and organised criminals.  This includes offenders involved in cybercrime, economic crime, drug conspiracies, modern slavery and human trafficking, organised immigration crime, and child sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • Andrew Penhale is the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS Specialist Fraud Division.
  • The Specialist Fraud Division is a dedicated CPS team playing a leading role in the fight against serious and complex economic crime and the financial exploitation of the public, using specialist legal expertise to deliver justice.
  • The first hearing in this case is on 31 March at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The role of the CPS

Any decision by the CPS does not imply any finding concerning guilt or criminal conduct; the CPS makes decisions only according to the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and it is applied in all decisions on whether or not to prosecute.
It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider.

The CPS assessment of any case is not in any sense a finding of, or implication of, any guilt or criminal conduct. It is not a finding of fact, which can only be made by a court, but rather an assessment of what it might be possible to prove to a court, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This assessment is based on the evidence available arising out of the present police investigation and not on the evidence that is likely to be gathered by the defence, and likely to be used to test the prosecution evidence. The CPS charging decision is therefore necessarily an assessment on the basis of the evidence that is available to the CPS at the time the decision is made.

CPS prosecutors must also keep every case under review, so that they take account of any change in circumstances that occurs as the case develops, including what becomes known of the defence case. If appropriate, the CPS may change the charges or stop a case.

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