By Tristan Harris Wednesday 06 February 2013 Updated: 07/02 11:55
A HOLLYWOOD man has been jailed for three years after a fraud which saw him con charities, public bodies and businesses of hundreds of thousands of pounds by duping them into advertising in a student magazine that had ceased publishing.
Andre Nethaniel-Rock, 44, of Mynors Crescent, set up publishing company Templar International in 2001 to produce the Student Lifestyle Guide, which was intended to be a free annual publication for students across the UK.
Despite the magazine generating revenue by advertising space, only several hundred copies were produced each year, between 2002 and 2005, and its publication was stopped.
But, between 2006 and 2009, several organisations were contacted by Nathaniel-Rock using false names. He claimed the guide was still being published with circulation figures of 4million and even claimed the adverts it contained were generating some fantastic results.
During those three years, Nethaniel-Rock took £253,371.22 out of the Templar International business account to fund his personal lifestyle.
Then, on November 13, 2008, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs presented a bankruptcy petition against Templar International and investigators suspected fraudulent activity.
West Mercia Police's Economic Crime Unit launched an investigation in August 2010 and complaints were made by 31 organisations about the Nethaniel-Rock's mis-selling of advertising worth £186,998.25.
He pleaded guilty on January 2 to three offences of obtaining a money transfer by deception from Nivea, Birmingham Trading Standards and Buffalo Technology.
He also pleaded guilty to nine offences of fraud by false representation against Amazon, Macmillan Cancer Support, Ladbrokes PLC, TK Maxx, Mazuma Mobile, EBuyer UK Ltd, Club 18-30, 4 Wheelz Driving School and Hostelworld.com.
The loss to these organisations as a result of Nathaniel-Rock's dishonesty was £103,644.
Det Insp Mark Glazzard, who leads the economic crime unit, said the sentence, handed out at Worcester Crown Court on Monday (February 4), reflected the significant losses attributed to the conman who used false names, exaggeration and elements of fantasy to close a deal.
"In his attempts to impress people, he even went as far as purchasing the Scottish baronial title of the Baron Cavers in 2004, which was recently valued at £25,000.
"Nathaniel-Rock committed a careful, prolonged and targeted fraud, but he was indiscriminate about who he conned, taking money from charities and small businesses as well as multi-nationals."
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