Fraud trio must repay nearly £1m says court

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A CONVICTED Yorkshire trio of fraudsters who made more than £2.2m through creating false identities and addresses have been ordered to pay back half the money following a court ruling.

Dennis Morris, 59, of Low Row, Port Mulgrave, Whitby, and long-term partners David Smith, 58, and Susan Clarke, 51, of Mortomley Lane, Sheffield, set up a complex fraud inventing nearly 200 identities from addresses which they had either bought or rented, and obtaining credit and bank accounts, driving licences and vehicles attributed to the names.

Overall, financial investigators found the fraudsters used 185 different identities and held more than 300 bank or credit card accounts over decades. Offshore trusts and properties in France were also discovered.

All three were jailed in September 2010 following a three-year investigation by North Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police, and the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team.

Now at a confiscation order ruling in Sheffield Crown Court it was determined Morris, Smith and Clarke should pay back nearly £1m.

Morris, who was jailed for four years, was found to have benefited by £1,060,000 and given a confiscation order of £544,896.57.

Smith, who was jailed for four-and-a-half-years, was ordered to pay back £409,465.34 of the £996,103 he had gained. Clarke, who has served her 21-month prison sentence, must pay back £210.

All three will face a further three years in prison if they do not repay the money in the allotted time.

Graham Wragg, head of South Yorkshire Police’s economic crime unit, said: “These three have spent a lifetime defrauding financial institutions and the benefits system for their own gain but at a cost to us all. It is only right that they should be made to repay the monies.”

Detective Inspector Ian Wills, head of North Yorkshire Police’s economic crime unit, said: “The confiscation orders made today bring to a conclusion an investigation that grew out of a joint investigation with Scarborough Borough Council into a fraudulent housing benefit claim.

“I would like to congratulate the tenacity and skill of all the staff involved in identifying and bringing this sophisticated identity fraud conspiracy to a successful conclusion.”