Couple sentenced for ‘emergency service’ publishing fraud

14 Dec 18

A married couple have been sentenced after attempting to defraud companies by selling false advertising space that they claimed supported emergency services.

A joint investigation by Merseyside Police and the Insolvency Service’s Criminal Enforcement Team exposed the scam, run by Mark and Kelie Taylor of Ellesmere Port.

Under the scheme, sales representatives persuaded companies to invest in phantom advertising space to assist the emergency services.

While few victims handed over any money, they were subsequently harassed and intimidated by the suspects with threats of debt recovery and litigation. In some cases, sales staff posed as members of the police or other emergency services.

Mark Taylor had been operating two companies – Global Media Corporation Ltd and Paramount Media Company – to sell the fake advertising space, despite previously being disqualified from being a company director.

John Fitzsimmons, deputy chief investigation officer for the Insolvency Service, said: “No matter what type of company you run, you have to comply with all your legal responsibilities. Mark and Kelie Taylor failed to act responsibly when they were involved with GMC and in particular, Mark Taylor was a persistent offender having already been banned from running companies.”

He added that he hoped the Taylors’ sentences would serve as a warning to others thinking of defying insolvency and company laws.

On 10 December, Mark Taylor was handed a sentence of four and a half years and Kelie Taylor pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting her husband’s disqualification. She received a two-year community order, 175 hours of unpaid work and a supervision requirement for 12 months.

Detective sergeant Joanne Devers, said: “[This] sentencing shows that the courts do take the issue of fraud very seriously. Some of the people who were taken in by this fraud were small businesses who were just trying to make a living.

“Merseyside Police’s Economic Crime team have actively targeted publishing fraudsters over the last four to five years, resulting in a large number of arrests and lengthy convictions.”

A study from the Police Foundation think-tank recently found that police forces are failing to prioritise fraud.

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