A GROUP of businessmen who tricked banks into lending them £160 million as part of a scam have been jailed for a total of 44 years.
Two former employees of Warrington-based company Total Asset Finance Ltd, which collapsed under debts of £150 million in 2011, are now serving lengthy sentences behind bars.
George Alexander and Stephen Dartnell were handed prison sentences of 12 and 15 years respectively at Southwark Crown Court on February 10.
Simon Mundy, who worked for Belgian banking group KBC, was sentenced to seven years while Carl Cumiskey, of H2O Networks Limited, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The four defendants were found guilty following a five-month trial.
Kerry Lloyd, formerly of Total Asset Finance Ltd, and Elfed Thomas, formerly of Newton-le-Willows-based H2O Networks Ltd, were also defendants in this case but they were found not guilty following the trial.
The four men were involved with a company called H2O that had access to sewers to route high-speed cables.
The four filed inflated and bogus contracts for broadband services with a finance firm and a Belgian bank to obtain cash.
During sentencing, judge Michael Gledhill QC said: "The evidence against each of you was compelling.
"Not one of you has accepted dishonest involvement in these offences.
"Of course, you have each accepted that with hindsight that fraud was committed, but have sought to exonerate yourselves.
"One of the least attractive aspects of the case has been the attempts of each of you to blame others, including each other, for what happened.”
Speaking following the sentencing, the director of the Serious Fraud Office, David Green described their actions as 'a carefully planned, complex and lucrative fraud which ran over three years'.
He added: "It took a determined investigation to ensure that those responsible for it were brought to justice.
"We will now turn our attention to securing confiscation of criminal assets from those convicted.”
Source: This is Cheshire