Two Kenilworth men have been jailed for playing their part in a ‘sickening’ multi-million pound advertising scam which ensnared companies in the UK and Europe.
Andrew Simpson, 44, of Fieldgate Lane, and Dennis Draper, 44, of Denton Close, were both heavily involved in Wyvern Media’s huge scam which mis-sold advertising space to around 18,000 different customers, turning over around £7 million a year.
Simpson, a publication director at Wyvern Media, admitted one count of fraud at Nottingham Crown Court and was jailed for 38 months.
Draper, also a publication director, was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to one count of fraud.
The men were among 10 who were punished for their role in the scam.
Wyvern Media cold-called small companies to pressurise them into purchasing advertising space in its publications.
They presented false figures and led victims into thinking their publications would be promoted at high profile events.
They used aggressive selling techniques, were unclear about what publication they were representing and made unauthorised withdrawals from customers’ accounts.
It took Nottinghamshire Trading Standards five years to fully investigate Wyvern Media’s crimes.
Cllr Glynn Gilfoyle, chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s community safety committee, said: “I’d like to pay tribute to the hard work and persistence of our investigators which has led to key directors receiving significant prison sentences for their part in this sickening operation.
“Many of the victims lost their businesses over this scam including small charities. We are yet to meet a business that made one single sale from an advertisement in a Wyvern Media publication.”
“We will now be seeking to hit those involved where it hurts by seizing assets to help compensate some of the victims for their financial losses.
“We urge businesses to place adverts in reputable publications and not to be put under pressure from any advertising salesperson, no matter how good the deal sounds.”
10 people in total were punished for their part in the scam, including two Leamington men.
Matthew Walker, 28, of Avenue Road, was jailed for 16 months, and Ricky Lal, 30, of Stidfall Grove, Sydenham, received a three-month sentence suspended for 12 months.