Trading Standards recently carried out its biggest ever investigation, into a group operating as Wyvern Media group.
This group sold advertising space in their publications by cold calling. Sometimes they would claim the company had won a prestigious industry award and must advertise the fact. At times they would call every hour pressurising companies into buying more adverts or at other times they simply charged the clients account for non-existent adverts.
Sadly for the victims the advertising sold was worthless. It was either non-existent or in a back water publication with very low readership but claimed to be a major national publication.
Jonathan Rivers was head of Derby-based Wyvern Media group and led a sophisticated operation employing up to 250 people in 12 offices across the UK and had a turnover of around £7 million.
The Nottingham Crown Court heard he admitted fraudulent trading after more than 500 complaints were lodged.
He was jailed for six years. Four other members of staff were jailed, with a further five given suspended sentences.
Rivers, 55, of Coleshill, Warwickshire, was described by Judge Stuart Rafferty as the “head, heart and soul” of the company, which had about 18,000 customers per year and an estimated annual turnover of £7m.
Several small businesses (including charities) were bankrupted by the actions of the group stealing money from them
These scams leave a trail of misery and broken people and businesses behind them.
Well done Trading Standards in stopping this group.
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