Suffolk: Fraudsters fight to keep their money

Christopher Boughton-Fox

Christopher Boughton-Fox - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Two conmen ordered to repay nearly £500,000 between them after a £1million telecom fraud are fighting to hold on to their money.

Jonathan Parrish and Christopher Boughton-Fox were jailed by Ipswich Crown Court after fleecing schools, businesses and charities across Suffolk, Essex, and Norfolk.

Boughton-Fox, boss of Great Yarmouth-based Business Telecom Ltd, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in 2011.

The 51-year-old, of Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew, was ordered to hand over £179,000 at a proceeds of crime hearing in March last year.

Parrish, his sales manager, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison and ordered to pay back £304,991.

However, the 45-year-old, of The Hills, Reedham, Norfolk, is currently appealing his conviction and confiscation order at the Court of Appeal.

Boughton-Fox is also appealing against the Ipswich Crown Court confiscation order.

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Included on the compensation schedule and the amounts are Rattlesden Primary School £22,228; West Row Primary School £122,995; Pot Kiln Primary School, Sudbury, £12,000; Elmers Hardware, Kesgrave, £5,800; BMS Imaging, Ipswich, £19,815; Lowestoft 60+ Club, £24,000.

A hearing was held at the Royal Courts of Justice this week for the judges to give directions relating to scheduling of their appeal hearings.

The frauds took place between 2003 and 2008.

During a 10-week trial Ipswich Crown Court heard that smooth-talking salesmen from Business Telecom Ltd persuaded customers to sign contracts for new telephone systems. Although they were told a cashback scheme meant the phones were free, customers were in fact signing up for expensive leasing agreements typically costing between £10,000 and £35,000 over seven or more years.

The court heard that Boughton-Fox had an annual salary of £600,000 while Parrish could earn up to £40,000 a month.

At their confiscation hearing Judge Peter Thompson found that although Boughton-Fox had benefited from the fraud by £1.3 million the available amount was only £179,000.

Parrish was found to have benefited by £1.4 million and the available amount is his case was determined as £304,991.