Ipswich/Spain: £5.7million scams continued as swindles hit trouble, court told

Mark Bell

Mark Bell - Credit: Archant

ALLEGED fraudsters behind multi-million pound escort agency and debt scams continued to milk the profits despite their cons beginning to crumble, a court heard.

Colin Samuels

Colin Samuels - Credit: Archant

The swindles which were run from Spain, but duped victims in the UK, are said to have netted around £5.7million.

Christopher Taylor leaving Ipswich Crown Court.

Christopher Taylor leaving Ipswich Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

Mark Bell, 41, of Westerfield Road, Ipswich; Colin Samuels, 61, of The Street, Redgrave, near Diss; Geraldine French, 60, of Lowestoft; former police officer Christopher Taylor, 57, of Oxford Road, Wakefield; and Bradley Rogers, 29, of Malaga, have all denied conspiracy to defraud and money laundering charges.

Bradley Rogers

Bradley Rogers - Credit: Archant

During the final day of the trial’s opening at Ipswich Crown Court prosecutor Nic Lobbenberg outlined the connections between each of the defendants and Anthony Muldoon.

The jury had previously heard Muldoon has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud charges.

The escort scam snared people through websites and national newspaper advertisements promising £600 a day for two local dates a week. The debt con related to cold callers promising to eliminate people’s credit card debts. Both were in operation by the summer of 2007.

However, Mr Lobbenberg said: “By the end of 2009 it was all going wrong for the fraudsters.”

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The court was told bank accounts used to transfer money were being closed down, complaints were being made, the Ministry of Justice was getting involved, and other problems had to be overcome.

Despite this Muldoon in an e-mail to Taylor said: “It has been non-stop rebuilding bridges torn down by the banks. You know me. I will not be beaten.”

In a previous e-mail to Taylor, Muldoon was said to have written: “Just when it couldn’t get any worse we lost Western Rock Bank and our credit card machine. The bank froze £60,000 Euros.”

Mr Lobbenberg said: “That letter shows Tony Muldoon confided in Christopher Taylor and the reality of what was going on with his debt business and with his escort business. Why would Mr Muldoon confide such things to Mr Taylor, unless he was on the inside of what was going on?”

The court was told French had e-mailed Muldoon at one point stating: “I’m always there to carry out what is always asked of me as best I can. As long as I’m employed by you I will commit 110% my loyalty and efforts to you.”

Other e-mails read out to the jury showed contact between French, who forwarded an e-mail to Bell from Muldoon, Samuels and Muldoon, and Rogers link with Muldoon.

Mr Lobbenberg said on March, 2, 2009, Rogers asked Bell for a UK telephone number to be provided for a phone line for an escort site which could be diverted to Spain.

Bell was said to have e-mailed back with a number.”

The trial continues.