Norfolk

Norwich pair ran fake distance learning courses

Scam website. Image copyright Norfolk CC Trading Standards
Image caption Wolfe and Hope falsely claimed that the courses were expertly written by them and were internationally recognised

A man and a woman have admitted running fake distance learning courses which netted sums of more than £200,000.

Katie Hope, 34, and Scott Wolfe, 38, both of Unthank Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty to two offences of fraudulently running two companies in 2015-16.

Their firms International Distance College and the British Nutrition Council duped 900 people into paying for qualifications which did not exist.

Judge Stephen Holt at Norwich Crown Court adjourned sentencing until April.

The case follows a two-year investigation and prosecution by Norfolk County Council Trading Standards.

Wolfe and Hope set up fake online nutrition courses which duped people - from as far afield as Canada, Singapore and New Zealand - out of about £200 each.

Not internationally recognised

The court heard the British Nutrition Council and the International Distance College operated as online training centres for nutrition-based courses.

Wolfe and Hope claimed the courses were expertly written by them and were internationally recognised.

In fact, the courses used content copied without permission from other course providers and were not internationally recognised.

Image copyright Norfok County Council Trading Stndards
Image caption The courses were advertised on the internet

Funds of about £225,000 were obtained from the fraudulent trading, passed through the company bank account and transferred into Wolfe and Hope's personal bank accounts and overseas to an account held in Mauritius.

At Norwich Crown Court, Wolfe also admitted a charge relating to the transfer of £98,000 and £10,000 from International Distance College into his own bank account and attempting to use a fake document.

Hope and Wolfe also admitted using a Lloyds Bank account belonging to Hope to receive money from International Distance College Ltd.

Cameron Crowe, for the prosecution, said that Hope had no previous convictions, but Wolfe had 14 previous convictions, some involving dishonesty.

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