High-profile convicted criminals insist new financial venture is not a scam

The pair, who were jailed for perverting the course of justice in 2016, are preparing to launch a new company which says it will to provide a range of services for ex-offenders


Two high-profile convicted criminals have insisted their new financial venture — designed, they claim, to help newly-released offenders reintegrate into society — is not a scam.

David Bright and Claire Silverstone, who was formerly known as Claire Mann, were jailed for perverting the course of justice in 2016.

Silverstone was also jailed for sending a bomb hoax to a synagogue. The pair are preparing to launch a new company, Renovare, which says it will to provide a range of services for ex-offenders.

These include a bank account, debit card and mobile phone contract — all of which are typically difficult to acquire without proof of permanent address and identification.

On Tuesday, a claim of endorsement from the Hardman Trust, which works to reintegrate ex-prisoners, was removed from Renovare’s website.

Although the new company and the charity had been in contact, the Hardman Trust has not endorsed the company. Bright admitted the claim had been “overzealous”.

Renovare also claimed it “will be supported by the Ministry of Justice, the Prison Service and the Probation Service”. A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said they had never heard of Renovare and there were no arrangements in place with the company.

Renovare says that Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) has agreed to open accounts for ex-prisoners using the licence they are given upon their release as temporary proof of address for up to 12 weeks.

PFS confirmed that it had “agreed to assist” Renovare but declined to offer more detail.

Bright and Silverstone said clients will pay a basic rate of £7.99 per month for Renovare’s service.

Silverstone told the JC: “It’s a temporary provision of ID. During those 12 weeks someone is getting back on their feet with our help, and should be able to get themselves either a driving licence, a renewed passport or a citizen card, so they can then use that as ID.

"We are helping them to help themselves.”

The pair’s convictions for perverting the course of justice centred on a false psychological report submitted by Bright during a family case. They were working as ‘McKenzie friend’ legal advisers at the time for Bright’s company, the Parents’ Voice.

Silverstone, who pleaded guilty to two counts of perverting the course of justice, dishonestly claimed to be a qualified psychologist.

Bright denied perverting the course of justice but was found guilty. He was released from prison in January 2017 and Silverstone was released the following December.

Bright told the JC: “We’ve done our homework — we spent a year doing our homework on it. We didn’t just suddenly come up with this idea to screw people out of money.”

Renovare will also provide jobs advice and training, a counselling and support service and a scheme for “vouchers and special offers”.

The pair are not listed as company directors. According to Companies House, the directors are Dion Perry Mailich and Lauren Mailich.

Lord Jeremy Beecham, a shadow Justice spokesman and an advocate of offender rehabilitation, has pulled out of a House of Lords reception on Monday he was due to hold for the firm.

Lord Beecham said: "I met recently with representatives of what I understood to be a new company supporting such work. In doing so, I took in good faith that they had undertaken some limited work within the Prison Service and agreed to host a working lunch and event.

“Following new information received in the past two days, I have become increasingly concerned about the company. I have since withdrawn my support for the event.”

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