Norfolk

Norwich pair who ran fake distance learning courses are jailed

Scott Wolfe Image copyright Norfolk Trading Standards
Image caption Scott Wolfe was jailed for four years

A man has been jailed for four years and a woman for two years after they admitted running fake distance learning courses which netted £200,000.

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

Their firms International Distance College and the British Nutrition Council duped 900 people.

The pair were sentenced at Norwich Crown Court.

Image caption Scott Wolfe, 38, and Katie Hope, 34, admitted two offences of fraudulently running two companies

They had admitted the offences in February.

Judge Anthony Bate, sentencing, called them "seasoned and shameless plagiarists".

The case followed 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.

The court heard earlier that 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 Norfolk Trading Standards
Image caption Katie Hope was jailed for two years

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 Hope had no previous convictions, but Wolfe had 14 previous convictions, some involving dishonesty.

Margaret Dewsbury, county council cabinet member for communities, said: "With so many people losing money as a result of this fraud it is very welcome that the court has today clearly acknowledged the seriousness of these offences by handing down these custodial sentences."

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