Former UK company director Max Fraser has been
jailed for nine years after tricking more than 20 financial
institutions to loan over £110m for plastics machinery that did not
Leicestershire Police spent four years
investigating Fraser to get to the bottom of what they described as
an extremely complex fraud, which started in 2001. Fraser persuaded
banks and institutions to finance leases for 700 machines, of which
only 111 actually existed.
The institutions defrauded included Barclays,
Bank of Scotland, Allied Irish and the Bank of Ireland, with the
latter two partially withdrawing reducing their
leasing activity following the scam.
The former managing director of Global
EPP in Leicester created of hundreds of fake invoices for
machinery and equipment that either did not exist, or had multiple
hire purchase agreements on them.
“It was not a victimless crime. Some companies
were forced to shut down parts of their operations and hundreds of
people lost their jobs as a result of this fraud,” said Detective
Constable Jason Helmn of Leicestershire Police.
Fraser admitted conspiracy to defraud
financial institutions, fraudulent trading and conspiracy to commit
false accounting at an earlier hearing. He concealed the fraud by
using numerous lenders, fake emails and accounts and changing the
data plates of machinery if investors wanted to see their
Fraser, of Cambridgeshire, used a yacht, raced
sports cars and took flying lessons, Leicester Crown Court heard.
Sentencing him, judge Sylvia der Bertodano, said it was a tragedy
that a man of such “precocious talents” used them to commit fraud
rather than to grow his business respectably, according to a Press
She said: “You went deeper and deeper and
thought you could trade your way out of financial difficulties. You
knew you were risking the lives and livelihoods of those who had
placed their trust in you and your company.”
The court heard the firm was thought to have
been insolvent since 2003. The firm collapsed in 2007 and PwC was
appointed as administrator. Fraser was sentenced to eight years and
eight months in prison. The judge told him he would serve half that
sentence before being released on licence.
Speaking anonymously to Leasing Life,
a leasing professional with knowledge of the case welcomed the
decision. They said: “Nine years sends out a very serious message
to someone who put a lot of work into damaging other people’s
Husband and wife David and Elizabeth
Liversidge were also jailed for five and three years respectively,
for false accounting. The couple ran an industrial oven business,
HTL Limited, in Stoke-on-Trent, and received about £6m from Fraser
for producing 900 bogus invoices.