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Westerfield: Fraudster who was part of gang that defrauded 17,000 victims is told to repay £160k

06:30 25 March 2014

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

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A Suffolk man who was part of a gang that defrauded 17,300 victims across the UK has been ordered to pay a £160,000 confiscation and compensation order.

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The group, set up by Costa Del Sol-based Antoni Muldoon, ran an elaborate network of bogus companies, duping people into signing up for non-existent escort work or fake debt elimination schemes.

They profited to the tune of £5.7million, most of which funded Muldoon’s luxury lifestyle in Spain.

The 66-year-old recruited six others including Mark Bell, 41, of Westerfield, near Ipswich.

Bell was found guilty of two offences of conspiracy to defraud after a 10 week trial at Ipswich Crown Court last year and was jailed for six years and six months.

At a proceeds of crime hearing yesterday the court heard that Bell’s benefit from his criminal offending was £160,922 and that he had £75,000 interest in one property and entire equity of £85,000 in another property.

Judge Rupert Overbury made a confiscation order in the sum of £160,000 and directed that £68,838 of that amount should be paid as compensation to victims of the fraud.

Judge Overbury ordered that Bell should serve two years in prison consecutively to his current sentence in default of payment.

At an earlier hearing Colin Samuels, 62, of Redgrave, Suffolk was made the subject of a £37,000 confiscation order. He was convicted of two offences of conspiracy to defraud and was jailed for five years and six months.

During the trial the court heard the escort scam offered non-sexual work through a network of websites and adverts in red top newspapers

However, after paying a registration fee of between £250 and £400, no work would materialise.

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