Fraudsters ordered to pay back more than £1m

fraudBS''the nerve centre of a long and complex fraud carried out by David Smith, Dennis Morris and Susan Clarke
fraudBS''the nerve centre of a long and complex fraud carried out by David Smith, Dennis Morris and Susan Clarke

A TRIO of convicted fraudsters who made more than £2.2 million through creating false identities and addresses have been ordered to pay back half the money.

David Smith, aged 58, and Susan Clarke, 51, teamed up with accomplice Dennis Morris to set up a complex scam, targeting loopholes in security systems to defraud banks, local councils and the Department for Work and Pensions.

A financial investigation uncovered 185 false names, 40 different addresses in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster and Whitby, and 300 accounts which the crooks had used to claim housing benefit, set up credit cards and take out loans.

They also obtained drivers’ licences and bought cars under their bogus identities.

The attic of a derelict property on Mortomley Lane, High Green, was used as a makeshift office and the ‘nerve centre’ for the fraud.

Filing cabinets and computers were found filled with incriminating documents and files.

All three fraudsters were locked up in September 2010, and a confiscation order made at Sheffield Crown Court ruled Smith, Clarke and Morris should pay back almost £1m.

Smith, who was jailed for four-and-a-half years, was ordered to pay £409,465, while Clarke - sentenced to 21 months - must hand over £210. Morris, of Port Mulgrave, Whitby, was imprisoned for four years and given a confiscation order of £544,896.

All three will face a further three years in prison if they do not repay the money in the allotted time.

Graham Wragg, head of South Yorkshire Police’s economic crime unit, said: “These three have spent a lifetime defrauding financial institutions and the benefits system for their own gain but at a cost to us all.

“It is only right that they should be made to repay the monies.”

Lisa Atkinson, head of the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team, said: “This was a sophisticated operation in order to commit fraud offences against both the public and private sector.

“We worked closely with both South and North Yorkshire Police to robustly target these criminals and make sure they do not profit from their ill-gotten gains.”

Investigators identified 17 properties purchased by the scammers, while offshore trusts and properties bought in France were also discovered.