News Business Crime & Financial Services 9th Mar 2018

Gavin Irwin Represents Principal Conspirator in £37m ‘Copy-cat Website’ Fraud

The BBC & the Guardian reported this week on the conclusion of the second in a series of fraud trials in relation to ‘copy-cat websites’ – one of the largest investigations ever commenced by National Trading Standards and valued at £37million.

Gavin Irwin acted as leading counsel for the principal conspirator, Peter Hall, who was alleged to have created and operated third-party services websites that mimicked the official sites run by numerous government agencies and departments.

Having manipulated search engine results to appear more genuine, it was said that Mr Hall duped hundreds of thousands of purchasers into paying more than they needed for new or replacement passports, visas, birth and death certificates, driving licences, driving tests and car tax discs.  In addition, Mr Hall ran websites for the payment of the London Congestion Charge and official visa websites where travellers could apply, and pay for, electronic visas for travel to the USA, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Vietnam.

The defendant was convicted of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime and of perverting the course of public justice for breaches of his restraint order.

Gavin continues to advise businesses on the application of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and continues to act for Mr Hall before the Court of Appeal and in ongoing confiscation proceedings before Teesside Crown Court.

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