Redgrave man accused in international fraud case

A Redgrave man has gone on trial accused of involvement in an international £5.7 million fraud centred on escort agencies and a debt elimination scheme.

Colin Samuels, 61, of The Street, is one of five people charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, a jury at Ipswich Crown Court was told this week.

Mr Samuels is accused of using the company EBA Ltd, of which he was a director, to launder £371,582 between November 2009 and November 2010, said prosecutor Nic Lobbenberg.

The prosecution claim that Mr Samuels acted as a “front man” for the operation by allowing his business bank account to be used.

He has denied two offences of conspiracy to defraud and two of money laundering.

It is alleged that Mr Samuels was part of a conspiracy in which call centres in Turkey and Spain were used to trick people in the UK into paying upfront fees in return for what were promised to be £600 a week payments for undertaking two dinner dates.

Mr Lobbenberg told the jury that no money was handed over by the alleged conspirators and the fees they collected were not refunded.

Instead the money was transferred out of the country using a network of bank accounts.

A second alleged fraud was said to involve people with large credit card debts in the UK being “cold called” from Spain and offered the chance to have their debts eliminated in return for a fee, charged to their credit card.

Also on trial are Mark Bell, 41, of Westerfield; Christopher Taylor, 57, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire; Bradley Rogers, 29, from Malaga, and Geraldine French, 60, of Lowestoft.

The trial, expected to last eight weeks, continues.