A Manchester man jailed for six years for involvement in a large-scale “advance fee” business fraud has been ordered to hand over £425,000.
Following a two-day confiscation hearing at Liverpool Crown Court, it was agreed that Carl Montlake had benefited by £1.5 million from the scam.
It was also agreed that he has realiseable assets of £425,000 and Judge Gerald Clifton ordered that, if this sum is not paid over under the Proceeds of Crime Act, by January 31 next year, he will face an extra 42 months in prison.
Montlake, 46, of Spring Vale, Prestwich, had been convicted by the court of conspiracy to defraud between January 1, 1998 and April 20, 2004.
Another conspirator, David Sasson, a solicitor, was found to have benefited by the same amount and to have realiseable assets of £164,758. He also has to pay this cash by January 31, and if he fails to do so, will have to serve a further 27 months imprisonment.
Michael Rashman, of Salford, who was convicted of the same fraud, was also due to face confiscation proceedings but these have been adjourned until March 11.
Rashman and his business partner, Montlake, created and operated a number of businesses trading in the sub-prime mortgage market for both residential and business property.
The prime vehicle for the fraud was Alliance International Ventures, with the claimed purpose of “offering funding to foreign applicants for foreign commercial projects ranging from $1m to $120m,” said Jonathan Turner, QC, prosecuting.
The victims “were mercilessly conned” by Alliance Ventures. Sasson ran the office on a day to day basis. The firm presented itself as a lending company and invited approaches from foreign businessmen for plans or projects for which they required funding.
During the fraud, Alliance Ventures received at least 275 requests involving millions of pounds, dollars and euros worth of business, most of them coming through brokers.
“Rashman and Montlake knew all the time that there was simply no money to lend — never had been, never would be”, said Mr Turner.