Back in October 2015, PPD led the call for distributors who had been the victim of Alan Weston’s fraudulent activities to step forward and make themselves heard to Trading Standards.
We can now report that Alan Weston, who cheated companies out of tens of thousands of pounds for non-existent promotional goods was jailed for 40 months on 21 November. In addition, he has been disqualified from being a director for eight years.
Weston appeared at Leicester Crown Court and pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent trading in respect of two companies he ran between December 2011 and August 2015.
The court heard how Weston had been the director of two companies – Promoprods Ltd and 8th Wonder Merchandise Ltd. Between 2011 and 2015 he defrauded companies out of more than £80,000 by methods including ordering and receiving goods from suppliers but never paying them; taking advance payment from customers for goods which he failed to supply, and offering free gifts to entice people to order goods, but then failing to supply them.
Elane Vass, who lost a considerable amount of money to Weston, was delighted with the news. “Obviously it’s not going to bring back our money, but considering it’s almost the maximum sentence for his crime, I am very pleased with the outcome,” she explained. “The fact that he pleaded guilty shows some level of remorse.”
The court was told how Weston had responded to complaints from customers with excuses ranging from being in hospital, undergoing surgery, having a brain cyst, family members dying and blaming various courier services.
In all, 24 businesses made complaints to Leicester City Council’s Trading Standards team as part of its investigations.
“As soon as he’d stung me I went to the police, but there needed to be a lot of people who reported him before anything could really be done,” Elane went on. “I knew he’d targeted people who hadn’t spoken up so I got involved with PPD to help put him on people’s radar and encourage them to come forward.
“Fraud is a horrible crime. It’s really quite difficult to prove, so it’s really very important indeed that people do report it. I don’t think if it had been just my report, this would have come to court.”
A separate hearing is due to take place in early 2018 to set out confiscating the proceeds from Weston’s fraudulent activities.
Leicester deputy city mayor with responsibility for regulatory services, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “We are pleased with this prosecution which is the result of a lot of hard work by our Trading Standards team.
“Dozens of companies were affected by this fraud, which totalled more than £80,000. This prosecution shows that we will, and do, take action against fraudsters, as well as looking to recover the proceeds he made from his illegal activity.”