£36m fraud­ster paid as ad­viser to Mid­land jails

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Josh Lay­ton Staff Re­porter

ACONVICTED con­man who de­frauded his vic­tims out of tens of mil­lions of pounds has been work­ing as an ad­viser at cri­sis-hit Birm­ing­ham Prison.

Michael Brown, one of Bri­tain’s most no­to­ri­ous fraud­sters, was also given keys to in­ter­nal ar­eas while work­ing at HMP Rye Hill in War­wick­shire.

The multi-mil­lion­aire, who ad­vises on ‘safe and se­cure pris­ons’, pre­tended to be the son of a lord as he conned in­vestors be­fore go­ing on the run for three years.

He has been ad­vis­ing pri­vate se­cu­rity firm G4S, which man­aged HMP Birm­ing­ham be­fore the Gov­ern­ment stepped in to run the jail two months ago amid on­go­ing prob­lems with drugs, vi­o­lence and squalid liv­ing con­di­tions.

The 52-year-old is a self-em­ployed con­sul­tant who spent a cu­mu­la­tive six days at the prison last Septem­ber, ad­vis­ing on first-night and re­cep­tion ar­range­ments, it was claimed.

At Rye Hill, a high-se­cu­rity, cat­e­gory B jail near Rugby, he ad­vised on ‘early days in cus­tody’ as well as staff train­ing on man­ag­ing and pre­vent­ing self­harm and sui­cide.

Brown was given keys at the prison, which is also run by G4S, al­low­ing him to ac­cess places of work and com­mu­nal ar­eas, but not the cells.

He was not given keys at Win­son Green’s HMP Birm­ing­ham, a cat­e­gory B jail hit by a 12-hour riot in De­cem­ber 2016.

Brown has also worked at a third G4S prison – HMP Oakwood, a cat­e­gory C fa­cil­ity in Feather­stone, near Wolver­hamp­ton in Stafford­shire.

The ad­viser, who do­nated £2.4 mil­lion of stolen funds to the Lib Dems dur­ing the 2005 Gen­eral Elec­tion, has served a seven-and-a-half-year sen- tence for theft and fraud of­fences. He conned in­vestors in­clud­ing for­mer Manch­ester United chair­man Martin Ed­wards, who lost £5 mil­lion.

Brown is in­fa­mous for do­nat­ing stolen funds to the Lib Dems’ elec­tion cam­paign and us­ing a pri­vate jet to fly then leader Charles Kennedy and other big­wigs around the coun­try.

The party said it ac­cepted the money in good faith, hav­ing care­fully vet­ted their donor.

The phoney in­ter­na­tional bonds dealer skipped bail af­ter be­ing con­victed in his ab­sence of a £36 mil­lion scam, be­lieved to have been the source of his po­lit­i­cal fund­ing.

He was re­leased in Jan­uary 2016, half­way through his sen­tence, but now faces new al­le­ga­tions in Spain. He is be­lieved to style him­self as Michael Camp­bell-Brown and to live in Ma­jorca with his wife at their lux­u­ri­ous £750,000 ‘win­ter villa’ in Es­porles.

Brown could not be con­tacted com­ment.

How­ever, Mark Leech, edi­tor of The Pris­ons Hand­book, said: “I have no prob­lem at all with Michael Brown be­ing hired by G4S – we all have our story to tell.

“If his help on early days in cus­tody, which is when in­mates are most vul­ner­a­ble, means that we start to re­duce the shock­ing lev­els of sui­cides and self-harm, then I wel­come it.

“Every­one is en­ti­tled to chance.”

A G4S spokes­woman said: “Michael Brown has worked with us on spe­cific projects as a con­sul­tant fo­cus­ing on early days in cus­tody, par­tic­u­larly around is­sues of self-harm and sui­cide, as well as staff train­ing. We are re­view­ing all the facts in re­la­tion to these al­le­ga­tions and whether we con­tinue to use Michael.

“Em­ploy­ing ex-of­fend­ers who have served their time gives us a fur­ther in­sight into the pris­on­ers’ ex­pe­ri­ence of prison life.” a for sec­ond

> Fraud­ster Michael Brown worked as an ad­viser at HMP Birm­ing­ham

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