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'McDonalds' Fraudsters, Led By Kevin Pomeroy, Jailed For Multi-Million Scam On High-Street Shops

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A crime gang of fraudsters who lived the life of Riley through a multi-million pound scam on high-street shops have been jailed.

Kevin Pomeroy, 47, and his wife Julie, 39, used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle far beyond their means, including a plush £380,000 home and a rented holiday apartment in Spain.

They also splashed out on high-powered cars, jewellery and rare and expensive sports memorabilia, Manchester Crown Court heard.

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Kevin Pomeroy conned companies to send them goods he never paid for

The pair, along with Pomeroy's nephew Daniel Pomeroy, and another accomplice James Chapman, 22, began a scam in 2008, hijacking the corporate identities of fast food giant McDonalds and Greggs the bakery.

By setting up bogus email addresses but using the names of genuine employees of both firms, they were able to fraudulently obtain credit and order millions of pounds worth of goods from a number of major suppliers.

They ordered goods which were delivered and collected - but never paid for and only a fraction of the goods stolen has ever been recovered.

In total, 13 companies fell victim, recording losses of around £3m.

As many as 80 companies were caught up in the conspiracy but a number of them sensed something was amiss and cancelled the orders, otherwise the total losses would have been just short of £20m, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

One of the firms scammed, Celltec Limited, had to go into liquidation with 40 staff made redundant.

The gang were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.

Kevin Pomeroy of Stamford Drive, Failsworth, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of money laundering and was jailed for eight and a half years.

Daniel Pomeroy, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud, was jailed for three and a half years, including an 18-month sentence for a separate fraud offence and Chapman, 22, of Sycamore Avenue, Chadderton, Oldham, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud and was jailed for three years.

Julie Pomeroy pleaded guilty to money laundering and was given a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 150 hours unpaid work.

Outside court Detective Chief Inspector Dave Pester, of GMP said: "Their legitimate means of income would not even come close to the tens of thousands they forked out on cars, plasma TVs, jewellery, sports memorabilia, holidays, rented apartments in Spain and Jacuzzis in the back garden, they really were living a life of Riley.

"This organised crime group successfully obtained £3m worth of goods, and if they had succeeded with every fraud would have pocketed just shy of £20m worth.

"This gang went to meticulous lengths to research genuine employees of blue-chip firms and present a veneer of respectability.

"Using extremely plausible scenarios, they fooled a number of companies who had no reason to suspect the orders were anything other than legitimate.

"We do not know where the stolen goods were fenced onto, but they would almost certainly have been resold in large quantities.

"Because they were obtained for nothing, even if the goods were resold for less than their market value the gang were still making massive profits which is evidenced in the lavish lifestyle the Pomeroys led."

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Kevin Pomeroy and his wife Julie used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle far beyond their means

The gang would call or email retailers of electronic goods such as Alba, HMV or Daewoo purporting to be from McDonalds.

Assuming the names of genuine employees - including senior officials - they would then order bulk quantities of electronic goods such as plasma TVs, games consoles, washer dryers or laptops, which they claimed would be installed in restaurants across the country.

Pomeroy and the gang would also open credit accounts with these firms, often worth six figures.

The goods were delivered to storage facilities in the Manchester and Cheshire areas, but no payments were ever made.

Other goods fraudulently obtained included thousands of bottles of whiskey and champagne and vacuum cleaners.

A complex and lengthy investigation was launched by GMP's Fraud Investigation Unit to unravel the scam, and on September 16, 2010, Kevin and Daniel Pomeroy were arrested by police following an eight-minute pursuit during which Kevin Pomeroy reached speeds of more than 100mph driving on the hard shoulder of the M60 motorway in order to evade capture.

Some of the money generated from the sale of the stolen goods was put through the accounts held by Julie Pomeroy.

Analysis of her accounts showed that just before the £2,022-a-month mortgage payments were due on their house large cash deposits were made to cover the payments, with £78,000 deposited in this way.

Cash totalling more than £35,000 was also used to pay off credit cards and purchase expensive cars, jewellery, private dental and health care, furniture and electrical items.