Computer Crime Research Center


Internet con artists nabbed

Date: December 21, 2005

A couple who masterminded a £130,000 international fraud from their cottage near Penrith have both been sent to prison.

David and Sandra Nethercott conned nine separate companies in the Far East by demanding payment in advance for components they never had any intention of delivering.

They were convicted of a string of fraud charges relating to their company Blue Chip Components Ltd which sold electrical components over the internet from their half million pound house in Sheriff Park, Thrimby.

Yesterday Sandra Nethercott, who is 51 and was described as “the prime mover” in the scam, was jailed for two years.

Her 38-year-old husband got 21 months.


Both were banned from being company directors for five years.

A further court hearing will be held in April at which the prosecution will apply to confiscate nearly £160,000 to compensate their victims and cover court costs.

Their barrister Simon Gedge said they would have to sell their house and their two cars – a Mercedes and an MG sports car – to find the money.

During their two-week trial at Carlisle Crown Court last month prosecutor Chris Stables told how the offences of fraudulent trading came to light after the Korean High Commissioner contacted Cumbria police saying a company in his country had lost money to the Nethercotts.

Companies hit by the fraud included three in Taiwan, two in Singapore and Hong Kong and one each in South Korea and China.

Witnesses came from the Far East to give evidence during the Nethercotts’ trial, which Mr Stables said had involved “huge” costs.

“Witnesses have been flown half way around the world,” he said.

In mitigation Mr Gedge said the couple had lost everything.

“When they come out of prison it will be hard work for both of them to survive,” he said. “Neither will have the kind of lifestyle they aspire to.”

Judge Paul Batty said the pair had thought their victims were too far away to complain. “It was a systematic out-and-out fraud,” he said. “It was cynical and well executed.”
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