Three jailed for £12m scam on Norfolk Christian
Three men have been jailed for a scam which defrauded Norwich Christian businessman Graham Dacre of £12m in what is the biggest fraud case ever tackled by Norfolk police.
Alan Hunt and Arthur ‘Trevor’ Ford-Batey were convicted at Norwich Crown Court on May 31 of a fraud which preyed on Mr Dacre’s (pictured right) religious beliefs. Hunt, 65, from Poole, was also found guilty of carrying out a similar fraud worth 10m euros on a German church in 2007 - a year before the fraud of philanthropist Mr Dacre. Ford-Batey, 62, from Carlisle, was cleared of defrauding the Dortmund church and laundering the money.
A third defendant, Ian Yorkshire, was found guilty of laundering Mr Dacre’s money and that of the German church, but cleared of fraud.
The judge ordered that Hunt serve a total of nine years, Ford-Batey must serve six years and Yorkshire 11 years.
Investigating officer DC Chris Gay said: “Although the amounts lost by the victims in this matter were substantial, and the way in which they were convinced to part with their funds was complex, it was essentially a simple confidence trick, and the principal remains that if an investment proposal looks too good to be true then it almost certainly is.”
Detective Inspector Brian Beech who leads the economic crime unit said: “This has been a complex and protracted investigation which has been ongoing for over three years. The offenders targeted individuals and organisations that believed in ethical investment, and falsely persuaded them that a portion of their profits from the investments would benefit humanitarian projects.
“Once obtained, the money was quickly spirited away into a number of foreign bank accounts and then used to support the offenders’ lifestyle, whilst stringing along the victims over a period of months, and in some cases years, with false promises regarding the return of the funds and payment of profits.”
Mr Dacre, who sold Lind Automotive Group in 2006 for £108m, said he was relieved the trial was over and thanked Norfolk police and the Crown Prosecution Service: “We would also like to express our heartfelt thanks for the support we have received over the last four months from so many people.”
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