Previously disqualified husband and wife have been sentenced after committing a large-scale publishing fraud.
Mark William Taylor, 51, and Kelie Taylor, 34, of Ellesmere Port, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on 10 December 2018 following a joint investigation between Merseyside Police and the Insolvency Service’s Criminal Enforcement Team.
The case centred on the activities of Global Media Corporation Ltd and Paramount Media Company between 2009 and 2014. The two Wirral-based companies were operated by Mark Taylor, despite being previously disqualified from being a company director.
Following a large number of complaints to Action Fraud in relation to the two companies, investigators found that sales representatives would cold-call companies offering advertising space in various magazines which reportedly supported the emergency services.
The victims were led to believe that they were investing in legitimate advertising space in magazines to assist the emergency services which are printed and then distributed to a large catchment area.
While the majority of the complainants did not pay any money, they were harassed and intimidated by the suspects with threats of debt recovery and litigation.
In some cases, sales staff would inform the victims that they were members of the police service or calling from another emergency service.
Mark Taylor was banned by the courts for 15 years in April 2016, the maximum term that can be applied, after investigators were able to prove that he acted as a director when he was banned from doing so. Kelie Taylor received an 11-year directorship disqualification from the courts at the same time for allowing her husband to run companies when he had been banned.
And husband and wife were both banned from running companies for allowing Global Media Corporation to fail in its duties to HMRC and carry out dishonest sales tactics.
Following the disqualifications, Mark Taylor was sentenced to 4.5 years having previously pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud relating to Paramount Media Company and Global Media Corporation, as well as one count of acting in the management of a company – GMC Ltd – while being disqualified from being a company director and perjury.
Kelie Taylor pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Mark Taylor’s disqualification and received a 2-year community order, 175 hours of unpaid work and a supervision requirement for 12 months.
John Fitzsimmons, Deputy Chief Investigation Officer for the Insolvency Service, said:
No matter what type of company you run, you have to comply with all your legal responsibilities. Mark and Kelie Taylor failed to act responsibly when they were involved with Global Media Corporation and in particular, Mark Taylor was a persistent offender having already been banned from running companies.
Working together with Merseyside Police, we sought criminal prosecutions against the pair and we welcome the substantial sentence, which should serve as a warning to others that there are severe consequences if you defy insolvency and company laws.
Detective Sergeant Joanne Devers, said:
Today’s sentencing shows that the courts do take the issue of fraud very seriously. Some of the people who were taken in by this fraud were small businesses who were just trying to make a living.
They were contacted out of the blue and asked to take out advertisements to support emergency organisations and these organisations preyed on the fact that most people would be happy to pay to assist the emergency services. They were then given sub-standard examples of work or received no feedback when they asked questions about issues such as circulation figures. Some businesses were also sent invoices for work they hadn’t agreed to.
Merseyside Police’s Economic Crime team have actively targeted publishing fraudsters over the last four to five years, resulting in a large number of arrests and lengthy convictions. Merseyside Police will continue to target those engaged in this type of crime.