Bexley men convicted following fraudulent ticket sales to sporting events
PUBLISHED: 11:02 30 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:11 30 July 2018
Two men from Bexley and Bromley were jailed and five more given suspended sentences last week (Friday July 27) after an investigation was launched into a series of fraudulent ticket sales to high-profile sporting events, which saw 309 victims being conned out of their money.
Essex Police investigated three online companies called Touchline Tickets, Getsporting and Green Pitch Tickets after 550 complaints were made to Action Fraud by people who had purchased tickets to events but never received them or a refund.
The companies operated between early 2014 and April 2015, and the fraud involved the sale of tickets to events including the Rugby World Cup 2015, Formula One and the Mayweather versus Pacquiao fight back in 2015.
Anthony Cheriton, 54, of Redpoll Way, Erith, was jailed for three years after admitting conspiracy to defraud and money laundering and William Healy, 27, of Lorimer Row, Bromley, was jailed for 18 months after admitting money laundering at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Ann Ashcroft, 54, of Redpoll Way, Erith; Mickael Horan, 24, of Westmoreland Road, Bromley; brothers Scott, 50 and Grant Penhallow, 45, both of Lisson Street, Camden and Ricky Huggins, 34, of Dunlop Place, Rotherhithe, all received suspended custodial sentences and have been ordered to complete a total of 700 hours unpaid work.
Blake Aspill, 33, of no fixed address, failed to appear at court for sentencing and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Anthony Koukoulis, 43, of Noahs Court Gardens, Hertford, is due to be sentenced on Friday, Sep[tember 7.
In the majority of cases the victims did not receive the tickets and the combined loss to the victims was in excess of £360,000.
Money from this fraud was transferred into accounts linked to Ashcroft, Aspill and Koukoulis, who then either withdrew this in cash or transferred it to the othes.
The websites investigated were often top hits on search engines, seemed authentic and gave discounts to people who opted for bank transfers, unaware this was helping to pay the fraudsters more quickly.
The most attractive event was the Rugby World Cup with more than £188,000 being paid for tickets that were never received.
Senior investigating officer DCI Lee Morton, of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate’s Serious Economic Crime Unit, said: “After three years this complex investigation involving hundreds of national and international victims has concluded following these sentences.
“While we know the defendants had different levels of involvement in the criminal activity, they were all important cogs in this crime.
“The tickets that were promised to the victims never existed but the money they transferred over to these criminals was very much real.
“This case shows that if you con people out of their hard earned money, we will investigate you and bring you to justice.
“I would like to thank my team for their hard work, determination and dedication in this case. I hope today’s outcome offers some justice to the victims.”
Matthew Bradford, head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said: “This is an excellent example of Essex Police taking on reports passed on to them by Action Fraud following their initial analysis and dissemination. This then led to devious fraudsters being punished for their crimes.
“This was a lengthy and complex investigation, involving dozens of victims. Ticket fraud can lead to disappointment for many, as criminals take advantage of people’s desire to buy tickets for popular concerts and sporting events, which are often sold out.
“If you think you have been a victim of ticket fraud, contact Action Fraud.”