Three Runcorn and Widnes defendants sentenced for money laundering as part of Liverpool FC forged ticket scam
A TRIO of defendants from Runcorn and Widnes have been sentenced for money laundering as part of a conspiracy to sell fake tickets to hundreds of fans attending Liverpool FC home games.
Jack Clarke, 19, of Afton in Widnes, Emily Bakewell, 20, of Fulbeck in Widnes, and James Wright, 19, of Havergal Street in Runcorn, were among 11 people sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday, November 13.
Bakewell and Wright were given 12 month community orders are to undertake 80 and 180 hours of unpaid work respectively.
Clarke was told to undertake 160 hours of unpaid work.
Craig O’Donohue, 30, of Harrow Road, Anfield was jailed for four years and Paul Murgatroyd, 28, of Breck Road, Anfield, was jailed for three years and six months after both were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.
A Merseyside police spokesman said that Murgatroyd and O’Donohue were arrested after officers from the force’s Economic Crime Team executed search warrants at houses in Anfield in February this year.
The spokesman added that items used in the production of counterfeit tickets such as printing equipment and materials were seized during the raids in Breck Road, Dewsbury Road and Harrow Road.
Police activity followed months of investigations into reports from hundreds of Liverpool fans, many from abroad, who the spokesman said had unwittingly responded to fraudulent adverts on the internet selling tickets for home games.
In some cases, victims paid money for tickets that were promised but never arrived in the post and others were met by individuals and given a ticket but then later refused entry because it was fake.
Detective Inspector Helen Bennett from Merseyside police’s Economic Crime Team said: “The victims have usually arranged a holiday or weekend break to the city to coincide with a home match and so have spent an awful lot of money up front.
“Many of the victims of this fraud had travelled from as far afield as America and Europe to get to a game and have been left bitterly disappointed, as well as out of pocket, when they have been turned away at the gate.
“Offences such as these leave a lasting, negative impression of our city on the victims and the police are committed to working with the club to target the criminals behind such scams and bring them to justice.
“To ensure that other people do not fall victim in the same way, our advice would be to always use official, legitimate and authorised websites to purchase tickets to any event.
“We would urge particular caution in the run up to the Christmas period when people are looking to buy gifts online and fraudsters may use the opportunity to exploit online shoppers.
“If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Other defendants convicted of money laundering and sentenced as part of the Merseyside police investigation included Alexandra Maria Kirby, 25, of Breck Road in Anfield who received a 14-week prison suspended for 18 months and was given 160 hours community service.
Frances Ellicott, 23, of Harrow Road in Anfield was handed a 12 month community order and told to undertake 60 hours unpaid work, while Laura Green, 22, of Holbeck Street in Anfield was given the same sentence.
Daniel Kercher, 19, of Frampton Road in Walton was also given a 12 month community order and handed a three month curfew from 7pm to 7am.
Siobhan Gazeley, 25, of Garmoyle Close in Wavertree was given a 12 month community order, as was Kieran Michael King, 22, of Snowberry Road in Stockbridge, who must also do 160 hours unpaid work.