Two fraudsters involved in a large-scale operation falsely claiming to sell timeshares have been sentenced at Stafford Crown Court today (February 23).
Alan Sharp, 66, of Constitutional Hill, Norwich, and Dawn Gingell, 55, from Hampshire, are two of seven people involved in the scam, that targeted and stole £850,000 from mostly elderly and vulnerable people.
The scam began at the Cavell House office blocks in Norwich, by a man called Brian Carr.
It involved contacting sellers of timeshare facilities in Spain between 2012 and 2015 and claiming to have buyers ready for them, before demanding an upfront ‘notary fee’.
Sharp supplied card payment machines for the fraudulent transactions through his own business, Pro-Bio Markets Ltd.
Gingell was one of the cold callers responsible for contacting the victims for the sales.
Prosecuting, Andrew Wheeler, said: “This is a very serious and unpleasant fraud on vulnerable elderly victims.
“The level of planning to purposefully deceive is clear to see.”
The court heard that Gingell profited £30,000 over 18 months, whilst Sharp made £10,000.
Defending Gingell, Mr. Bloomer, said: “She lost her mother and her sister, both in a short space of time, after caring for them for three years.
“The money made was being used to help her in this hard time, although it does not excuse it.”
Sharp has one previous conviction of deception from 1998, whilst Gingell has no previous convictions.
Defending Sharp, Mr. Cooper, said: “He was not aware of the vulnerability of the victims, but again this is no excuse, and a previous conviction shows he is not blameless.”
Gingell was sentenced to 43 months imprisonment, whilst Sharp was given an eight-month suspended sentence and 200 hours of community service.
Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gosling, said: “You both knew that the enterprise was criminal.
“She [Gingell] did not have an organisational role, although she can be considered a trusted ally, and was recruited because of her experience in the timeshare industry.”