Jailed Hertfordshire fraudsters ordered to pay back £150k

PUBLISHED: 17:53 13 December 2011

Daniel Cullen

Daniel Cullen

Archant

TWO jailed fraudsters who conned schools and businesses have been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds gained through their criminal enterprise.

Daniel Cullen and Daniel Buttle have each been ordered by a judge to cough up £73,820 within six months – or face a further year in prison.

Cullen, 29, of Park Street, Old Hatfield, and Buttle, 33, of Portland Road, Bishop’s Stortford, were jailed for three years and 18 months respectively in July for the scam.

The pair, pretending to be from a branch of BT, offered “too good to be true” deals for telephone equipment, which instead locked people into lengthy and expensive contracts.

A confiscation hearing at St Albans Crown Court on Friday heard the pair had together benefited by more than £828,000 – with Cullen raking in a further £202,000 from a previous similar fraud in Norfolk.

They claimed that they had no assets left.

However, Judge Griffith accepted Hertfordshire Trading Standards’ argument the defendants had £147,640 of assets, which they had hidden by making several large payments to two companies for ‘services’ that did not take place.

Cullen claimed he had no knowledge of these payments, while Buttle suggested the money was payment for sales staff and pre-sales labour.

Both these arguments were rejected by Judge Martin Griffith, who considered the payments were manufactured and were “sums salted away for the future in the event that the whole fraudulent business should be found out”.

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