Bogus advert scam gang from Liverpool took victims to court

Paul Good, Darryl Shellard and Lee Doran Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Paul Good, Darryl Shellard and Lee Doran targeted small and start-up businesses

Three conmen have been jailed for a £4.5m fraud selling bogus advertising space to small companies who were taken to court if they did not pay up.

Paul Good, 53, and Darryl Shellard, 45, both from Liverpool were convicted of fraud and jailed for eight and seven years each.

Lee Doran, 45, of Huyton was sentenced to 16 months for admitting fraud.

Merseyside Police said one businessman even lost his home as a result of the scam.

The fraud involved sales staff, such as Doran, posing as cold callers from the emergency services to sell advertising for non-existent publications, said police.

'Devastating effect'

Shellard, and Good of Knight Street, Liverpool, targeted small firms and start-up businesses sending a sample copy to their clients who were then given 28 days to pay in full.

Det Con Clare Walsh from the force's Economic Interventions unit said some offences dated back 10 years with victims spread across the UK.

"This type of fraud is not a victimless crime - while initial amounts taken were often small, in some cases bills eventually ran to thousands of pounds, which had a devastating effect on the business and individuals involved, with one business owner even losing his own home as a result of their actions."

Shellard, of Tancred Road, also admitted perjury in a civil court.

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