Court Result

Third person latest to be ordered to repay criminal earnings

A jailed man from Warwickshire is the latest member of a criminal gang to be ordered to repay money he made from a multi-million pound fraud, after using it to live a lavish lifestyle.

Following a hearing at Southwark Crown Court yesterday (16/9), Michael Bancroft, aged 73, of Ilmington, Shipston-on-Stour, was ordered to repay over £725,000 after being made subject of a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Bancroft and four others played various roles in a scheme that targeted struggling businesses by offering genuine assistance, but proceeded to seize control of the failing firms and drain their assets.

He was previously convicted of conspiracy to corrupt, three counts of Fraudulent Trading and one of Conspiracy to Conceal Criminal Property (Money Laundering) in 2007 and jailed for 10 years.

The court adjudged that Bancroft made £2,331,764.35 through criminal activity and ordered him to repay £727,390.72 within three months, or serve an additional six-year sentence.

On Thursday (12/9) two other members of the group, David Mills, 62, and his wife Alison Mills, 54, were ordered to repay more than £10 million for their involvement in the fraud, including assets such as a luxury yacht, properties in the UK and abroad, and a £100,000 wine collection. Their gain through criminal activity was valued at £69,455,667.29.

The pair had been sentenced to more than 18 years’ imprisonment following Operation Hornet, a six-year investigation led by Thames Valley Police which uncovered their illicit activities. 

The case for the confiscation order was led by specialist financial investigators from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU). 

Bancroft’s assets included:

  • Property – £295,500
  • Money – £128,581.72
  • 2x Private pensions – £291,459
  • Jewellery – £11,850.