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Escort scam fraudster ordered to repay £160,000

41 year old Mark Bell was one of six people jailed last year after 17,000 people lost money by signing up to escort websites.

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14,000 victims paid between £250 and £400 to register for the non-sexual work, and 3,300 people gave between £540 and £2,000 to be part of a scheme which claimed to write off credit agreements. The scam was investigated by Suffolk County Council in 2013.

Mr Bell was jailed for six years and six months for fraud at Ipswich Crown Court last year. At a recent hearing a judge has issued a £160,000 confiscation order, which included paying £68,838 to victims.

If he fails to repay the money within six months, the judge ordered that he should face a further two year jail sentence to add to his existing prison term.

Gang members perused in court

At earlier hearings, Colin Samuels, 62 of was found to have benefitted by £166,000 and was ordered to repay £37,000, while Bradley Rogers, 29, from Spain was found to have benefitted by £46,214, but ordered to repay £1.

Samuels is serving five years and six months for conspiracy to defraud, while Rogers is serving a jail sentence of two years and 10 months for money laundering.

Suffolk Trading Standards are continuing to try and seize the rest of the gang's assets through the courts. The other gang members included Spain-based Toni Muldoon, 66, who was jailed for seven and a half years for fraud.

Also 57 year old Christopher Taylor was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for money laundering. Geraldine French, 60, from Spain, was jailed for six years and five months for conspiracy to defraud.

64 year old Jeffrey Owens from Devon, admitted money laundering and was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years.

For further information please visit the BBC website.

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