2018 North West Enterprise Awards

26 SME NEWS / NorthWest Enterprise Awards 2018 , Altia-ABM Software Helps Bust Major Fraud In Cumbria Conmanposed as undercover police officer, createdmultiple bogus businesses and committed arson in a bid to cover his tracks. A conman who claimed to be both a millionaire and an undercover police officer has been sentenced to 17 years and 9 months in prison, along with four accomplices, after a major investigation by elite detectives in the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) using Altia-ABM technology. Michael Milner tricked a solicitor into transferring £200,000 of her clients’ money to him, claiming that he had £3.3m tied up in family trusts, compensation litigation and bonds overseas and would organise repayment once he had access to these funds. In Greater Manchester he also defrauded Allgates Brewery, the pub chain Thwaites and GS Cold Storage out of around £40,000, after forming six bogus pub companies. He went onto offend in Cumbria where he defrauded the owners of the tourist attraction, Ducky’s World, out of their petting farm and other businesses worth £1.6 million. Two brothers who ran a cattle farm lost £1.2m in other scams perpetrated by Milner and his co-offenders. Police also discovered he had organised a petrol bomb attack on the petting farm when he realised his frauds had been uncovered. In July 2018, the case was brought to court and five convictions successfully secured using Altia- ABM Insight, and Investigation Toolkit. The convictions included a solicitor and a chartered accountant. The presiding Crown Court Judge Heather Lloyd, commended the ROCU detectives for their approach to dealing with the victims and for presenting such a complex criminal case in a comprehensive manner. Commendations by a judge are very rare. The case was prepared and presentation aids produced using Altia-ABM technology. This technology is used by every police force in the UK and by law enforcement agencies worldwide. The North West ROCU is a collaboration between the six police forces in Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and North Wales to tackle serious organised crime in North West England. Representatives from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, UK Border Agency and the National Crime Agency (NCA) are also involved in investigations. The unit tackles serious crimes including fraud, drug-related offences, gang activity and gun smuggling. Detective Sergeant Jason Burke, a specialist fraud and money laundering investigator with the North West ROCU, said: “The investigation lasted 14 months and the prosecution case comprised over 100,000 pages. This was an exceptionally complex case which relied on our ability to analyse the crucial pieces of evidence and correctly identify links between the offenders, two of whom were professionals in a regulated sector.” “The principal fraudster in this case, Michael Milner, incorporated 12 businesses across the North West of England in order to facilitate his fraudulent behaviour. Our ability to investigate the criminality, collate the documentation and link hundreds of exhibits relied on detailed analysis and oversight of the entirety of his criminal activity. Any case of this scale requires bespoke software to handle the investigation, to avoid issues at court and to allow oversight by the Senior Leadership Team at every step of the investigation.” “The gravity of the offending in this case, which included arson with the reckless use of petrol bombs on a £1.2 million business, multiple frauds, corrupt professionals and the deliberate targeting of vulnerable adults was so significant, it was essential that we prepared the case in a comprehensive manner that allowed no criticism or mistakes during the court process. We couldn’t let the victims down.”

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