The crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers hopes that by naming and shaming the top ten most wanted fraud criminals in the UK in their recently launched campaign, British people will no longer be duped by them and may even turn them in to the police.
These ten criminals are thought to be responsible for around £200 million of fraud between them. And according to Crimestoppers, fraud is not a "victimless crime". It costs each of us £700 every year.
Lord Ashcroft of Crimestoppers said, "This is not a victimless crime. Every single one of us is paying higher taxes, bank charges and insurance fees because of fraud.
"The amount of fraud against the public purse is around £27 billion a year. This is equivalent to 30 per cent of the estimated national education budget for 2011/2012. Think of the many cuts and savings that would not have to occur if we did not suffer this level of fraud!"
Amongst the fraudsters is 38-year-old Nasser Ahmed who was involved in a large-scale VAT fraud estimated at £156 million. He is currently on the run after escaping during his trial, but was nonetheless sentenced to 6 years imprisonment.
Peter Stead, aka Danny Kay, conned landlords in Derby during 2009 by pretending he was the brother of comedian Peter Kay.
He took money from the landlords to put on comedy nights in aid of the Lewis Mighty Fund, a charity set up to help a four-year-old cancer patient in America, but after taking the money, Mr Stead did not bother to perform.
Mohamad Khan, 29, from Waltham Cross, went on luxury-goods shopping sprees in centres such as Bluewater and Lakeside using counterfeit credit cards. He spent over £100,000.
The ten most wanted committed other types of fraud including bank account fraud, fraud by false representation, money laundering and holiday scams.
Lord Ashcroft asked: "If you know of anyone committing fraud, or know the whereabouts of those featured in this campaign, I urge you to call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. We guarantee that no one will know your identity. Help us take these criminals out of circulation."
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