Conman jailed for shops scam

David Beck, aged 60, jailed for four-and-a-half years for conspiring to conceal criminal property.
David Beck, aged 60, jailed for four-and-a-half years for conspiring to conceal criminal property.
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A PROFESSIONAL fraudster has been locked up for four-and-a-half years for trying to hide the proceeds of a £250,000 scam in which he targeted high street shops.

David Beck, aged 60, lived ‘way beyond his means’ by carrying out his crooked scheme, which involved claiming refunds and credit vouchers for goods he had never bought.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Beck maintained an ‘office’ at his home on Baring Road, Blackburn, Rotherham, where he filed away nearly £6,000 worth of vouchers, as well as blank till rolls, documents detailing the movements of shop security staff and £21,000 in cash.

Beck also paid £26,000 in cash for an extension to be built at his home and spent thousands on breaks at holiday camps, despite state benefits being his only official source of income.

He laundered most of his earnings through bank accounts in the name of his 39-year-old stepson John, who also helped Beck by buying and selling houses from as early as 1996.

More than £56,000 was paid out to bookmakers from John’s accounts – another method of laundering the criminal proceeds.

Richard Clews, prosecuting, told the court: “David Beck was involved in dishonest criminal conduct to a substantial extent, with his ‘fingers in a number of pies’ relating to dishonest activity connected to retail shops.”

He added: “Substantial amounts of money were amassed and obtained. This money needed to be handled carefully in order not to draw attention to David Beck.”

Sentencing, Judge Alan Goldsack QC told Beck: “You’ve been a persistent criminal most, if not all, of your life. Latterly you’ve become more professional. This was organised and successful dishonesty over many years.”

The judge said John Beck was ‘used’ by his stepfather, but added: “You knew what he was doing and you could have stopped him.”

The pair admitted conspiring to conceal criminal activity.

John, of Swanwick Street, Chesterfield, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year, with 150 hours of unpaid work.