So­lic­i­tor gets two years for fraud

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY A CORRESPONDENT

A DIS­GRACED Mersey­side so­lic­i­tor has been jailed for two years for his in­volve­ment in a £1.5 mil­lion “ad­vance f ee” fraud. David Sas­son made £250,000 from the fraud, Liver­pool Crown Court heard.

Sas­son had been struck-off af­ter ad­mit­ting steal­ing from his em­ploy­ers.

His fa­ther-in-law got him a job with Carl Mont­lake and his busi­ness part- ner in 1993, work­ing as an un­der­writer. Based in Bury New Road, Manch­ester, Al­liance In­ter­na­tional Ven­tures was set up in 1997 and, ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tor Jonathan Turner QC, was “a fraud from the out­set”.

He added: “Its busi­ness was os­ten­si­bly to of­fer fund­ing to for­eign ap­pli­cants look­ing to raise fi­nance for busi­ness projects abroad.

“The truth is, and al­ways was, that Al­liance had no money at all. Not­with­stand­ing their to­tal lack of funds, Alli- ance be­gan to of­fer over­seas cus­tomers sums of any­thing be­tween $500,000 and $120,000,000.”

Barely a page of the “au­then­tic-look­ing” pa­per­work re­cov­ered by po­lice had not em­anated from Sas­son, nor been ad­dressed to him. “To many of the ap­pli­cants, it is clear that Sas­son was Al­liance.”

The fraud in­volved get­ting ap­pli­cants to pay a £495 ad­min­is­tra­tion fee and ap­praisal fees of up to £7,000. They also had to pay the ap­praiser’s ex­penses, in­clud­ing first-class tick­ets, ex­pen­sive ho­tels and en­ter­tain­ment.

“What­ever the ap­praiser said about the project, Al­liance was al­ways go­ing to ex­tract the fees and then fail to pro­vide a penny,” Mr Turner said.

In­quiries re­lat­ing to one-third of ap­pli­cants found that Al­liance had of­fered to lend $1.5bn over a five-year pe­riod.

Sas­son, 47, of Child­wall Cres­cent, Child­wall, pleaded guilty to con­spir­acy to de­fraud. Mont­lake, 46, of Spring Vale, Manch­ester, was con­victed ear­lier this year and jailed for six years.

Sas­son’s bar­ris­ter, David Turner QC, said that the oth­ers had made sure he was “the fall guy”.

Judge Ger­ald Clifton told Sas­son that the busi­ness had been bo­gus from the out­set. Vic­tims had in­cluded com­mu­ni­ties look­ing to build a hospi­tal and sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

But al­though Sas­son had not been a small cog, he had been un­der the con­trol of Mont­lake.

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