Pair Jailed For Four Years After Admitting £3m Glass Recycling Scam

22-07-13(4)picTwo businessmen have been jailed for four years apiece after defrauding a Government recycling subsidy of £3.1m.

Andrew Thomas and Paul Thomas, both aged 46, were disqualified from being directors of a business for 10 years, with both men also given confiscation orders of more than £215,000 each. They have been set a deadline of six months to pay the confiscation orders, or face being handed a further 32 months in prison.

The men pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, money laundering and breaking Environmental Permitting Regulation at Swansea Crown Court in October 2012, and have now been sentenced following an investigation by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and South Wales Police, which has enabled the court to confiscate illegally obtained assets.

John Rock, Lead officer of NRW – “As regulators of the waste industry, we have to make sure that all companies operate legally to make sure there is a level playing field. Occasionally, there are those who break the law simply to profit from their activities and this will not be tolerated”

“In this case, the actions of the offenders have undermined the recycling markets and industry, which are vital to make sure the waste we produce is not sent to landfill.

The investigation by NRW found that the men had weighed machinery and lorries to obtain fraudulent weighbridge tickets, upon which they would send invoices for materials that did not exist. NRW also discovered that the pair took metal cans for recycling from local authorities, and then sold the material to scrap dealers so they could pocket the profits. The investigation team estimates that the money generated by selling these cans was around £300,000.

Upon sentencing the men, Judge Keith Thomas told the court: “I’ve no doubt you spent large amounts of money on garish tokens of wealth and lived your lives beyond legitimate means. The subsidy system in an important tool in controlling environmental waste and pollution, but it requires the good faith and honesty of those involved for it to operate effectively.”

Lead officer of NRW, John Rock, said: “As regulators of the waste industry, we have to make sure that all companies operate legally to make sure there is a level playing field. Occasionally, there are those who break the law simply to profit from their activities and this will not be tolerated.

“In this case, the actions of the offenders have undermined the recycling markets and industry, which are vital to make sure the waste we produce is not sent to landfill. People who do consider breaking the law simply to make money must understand that not only will they be punished for their offences, the profits they make are also at risk.”

Two employees of the company, Beverley Bradford and Terrence Ainge, were sentenced earlier this month to two years in prison suspended for 24 months.

 

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