Jailed couple ordered to forfeit yacht and money following confiscation order

A man and woman have been forced to repay more than £10 million, after being convicted in 2017 for their roles in a multi-million pound fraud.

David Mills, 62, and his wife Alison Mills, 54, were convicted alongside four others in 2017 for their roles in fraudulent trading, corrupting banking officials and money laundering.

They had been sentenced to a total of more than 18 years’ imprisonment following Operation Hornet, a six year investigation led by Thames Valley Police which uncovered their illicit activities. They defrauded struggling businesses out of huge sums of money to fund a lavish criminal lifestyle.

The confiscation order was made at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday (12/9) under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). They have been ordered to repay money and assets valued at £10,451,949.54 which will include the seizure of luxury yachts and holiday properties.

The case for the confiscation order was led by specialist financial investigators from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU). If the sums aren’t paid back within the next three months, they will each face additional prison terms of ten years (David) and nine years (Alison) added to their current sentences.

The pair’s identified assets included:

  • Todenham House – £2.5 million
  • Wine collection – £100,000
  • UK Property portfolio – in excess of £1.2 miilion
  • Foreign Properties – in excess £1 million
  • Yacht (Powder monkey) – £75,000
  • Share portfolio – in region of £1 million
  • Pensions – £1.3 million
  • Company assets – £1.5 million

Between 2003 and 2007, David Mills, who described himself as a turn-around consultant, fronted a company that provided assistance to businesses that were in financial difficulty who had been referred to him by Lloyds Bank.

As well as the bank referral fees Mills levied hefty charges for services along with the others found guilty of the fraud in the case.

Instead of offering genuine assistance, they seized control of the failing firms and drained them of their assets, which were utilised by them to provide a lavish lifestyle.

Their gain through criminal activity was valued at £69,455,667.29.

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg of Thames Valley Police, said: “I am incredibly pleased that these criminals continue to be confronted with measures to seize the gains from their substantial fraudulent activities to help guarantee they are appropriately punished.

“This group defrauded struggling businesses and gained significant sums of money, and lived a luxury lifestyle as a result of their fraudulent ways. It is vitally important that we use methods like this to ensure they are completely stripped of any remaining gains.”

Detective Inspector Tom Bradshaw, from SEROCU’s Economic Crime Capability, said: “We have a dedicated team of financial investigators who work tirelessly tackling criminals and their illegal profits.

“By continuing to target their assets we are ensuring that, not only are the offenders facing significant jail terms, but even when released they will not see the rewards of their criminal activity, which defrauded struggling companies of millions of pounds.

“This is a stark reminder to even the most fruitful criminals; not only will you be caught and brought before the courts, we will also seize any money and assets you’ve gained through criminal activity.”