Press Centre

Fraud Squad

  • Episode: 

    1 of 3

  • Title: 

    Series 3
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Thu 30 Apr 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 18 2015 : Sat 25 Apr - Fri 01 May
  • Channel: 

    ITV
  • Status: 

    New
The information contained herein is strictly embargoed from all press, online and social media use, non-commercial publication, or syndication until Tuesday 21 April 2015.
 
Series overview
 
“We are seeing serious organised villains moving into the arena of fraud that was traditionally occupied by the grey man in a suit. They’ve got the opportunity to make the same money as they would from a huge importation of heroin.” – Det. Chief Supt David Clark, City of London Police.
 
This returning current affairs series for ITV provides a vivid insight into the ingenious new frauds being used by criminals to steal millions of pounds from victims.
 
With exclusive access to the City of London Police, the national lead force on fraud, this three-part observational documentary series follows detectives on their biggest multi-million pound investigations.  
 
Fraud is now the fastest growing crime in Britain, costing taxpayers an estimated £50 billion a year. Fraud Squad exposes the harm caused to thousands of victims and reveals how a new breed of criminal is moving into the marketplace.
 
The first film shows how organised crime has relocated into the British property market. The gangs buy cheap land situated on flood zones and areas contaminated by industrial waste. They cold-call victims and falsely claim the land will be granted planning permission and can be sold to housing developers for a healthy profit. It’s a highly lucrative trade, yielding the gangs more than £200 million a year.
 
The second and third episodes see detectives from the City of London and Metropolitan Police pursue a gang behind the biggest ever bank cheque fraud in Britain, worth over £6.5 million. The gang has mastered the art of counterfeiting cheques, which enables them to steal millions from businesses, charities and private account holders across Britain.
 
Episode 1
 
The first film shows how organised crime has spotted a new opening in the market - the British obsession with property. Hundreds of victims have been convinced to buy land they were promised could make them a healthy profit when sold to housing developers. The fraudsters use high-pressure sales techniques to falsely claim the worthless land will get planning permission.
 
Commander Steve Head explains how the criminals convince victims to invest. He says: “They will groom people over a period of time to try and build their trust. They will come out with some extremely plausible arguments, all designed for one thing, and that is to steal as much money from those individuals as they possibly can.”
 
One gang has conned more than 200 victims out of £10 million. The masterminds of the fraud, Clive Griston and Matthew Noad, hide behind a series of false identities and then dissolve their fake companies to avoid arrest.  
 
Det. Chief Supt Dave Clark says: “The companies are set up for a short period of time, enough time to take huge amounts of money from investors. They then go into liquidation leaving investors with no place to turn. They reinvent themselves, the same people, under a different brokerage name, with a different parcel of land, committing the same scam. This is a revolving door of fraud.”
 
Fraud Squad trails detectives as they search the fraudsters’ multi-million pound mansions, launch multiple raids on their offices and gather testimony from traumatised victims.
 
For the first time, the series also features video footage showing the inner workings of the gang’s fraud, with brokers revelling in a culture of ‘greed is good’.
 
One victim, 72-year-old Judith Wilkins, was repeatedly called at a particularly vulnerable time, when her husband and brother had passed away in a matter of months. She says: “I don’t think it could have come at a worse time. They were shouting at me and I said please don’t shout at me, I’ve just lost a brother and I don’t need this. They’ve got no feelings at all. They walked all over you and got louder and louder and insisted that I sent them a cheque.”  
 
After they threatened Judith with legal action claiming she had entered into a verbal contract, she reluctantly handed over £10,000, most of her life savings.
 
Detective Clancy Tassell explains the impact the fraud has on many victims. She says: “Their quality of life goes downhill. They can lose their homes over it. Some people have taken out loans to put money in this investment. And there’s going to be no return on it and it’s heart-breaking.”
 
The victims’ testimony is crucial in proving that Griston and Noad are selling a lie. The company bank accounts show Griston and Noad are living a champagne lifestyle, buying multi-million pound mansions, driving Bentley and BMW cars and taking five-star holidays on the money stolen from the victims.
 
Griston uses his girlfriend, Kerry Golesworthy, to launder his millions. Kerry has extravagant tastes, spending more than £80,000 of the victims’ money on a new bathroom and tens of thousands more on designer jewellery and a Range Rover with personalised number plates.
 
Fraud Squad follows detectives as they arrest Kerry Golesworthy at a luxury penthouse apartment in a gated community. The couple seem to have an addiction to designer goods. They hid the source of the wealth from neighbours claiming they had won the National Lottery.
 
Detectives also arrest the parents of Matthew Noad. Father Roger, who spent 30 years at Coutts, the Queen's banker, used his experience to launder £600,000 of his son’s criminal proceeds. This money gave Roger and his wife Linda a lavish lifestyle, a £1 million home and luxury foreign holidays.
 
Awaiting trial, with their passports seized and bank accounts frozen, Griston and Noad have set up a new multi-million pound fraud while on police bail - selling worthless carbon credits to the same elderly, vulnerable investors.
 
Commander Steve Head says: “They are in the judicial system awaiting trial and they use that as an opportunity to go out and target more people, steal more money, ruin more lives. They think they are untouchable.”
 
One man – a survivor of the Thalidomide drug – invested his compensation settlement worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
 
Kate Lees’s 95-year-old father Stanley invested thousands of pounds shortly after he had suffered a series of strokes. She says “I don’t have the words to say how particularly kind of diabolical that is. They knew how vulnerable he was. It’s impacted the whole family.”
 
Griston and Noad are charged with yet another multi-million pound fraud.
 
In December 2013, before the case goes to court, Griston and Noad plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. They receive a reduced sentence of four years and eight months. Kerry Golesworthy and Roger Noad choose to be judged by a jury. They’re found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to three and a half years. Noad’s mum Linda is found guilty of money laundering and receives a two-year suspended sentence. Broker Harry Neal gets three years for the carbon credit fraud.
 
Fraud Squad is produced by Wild Pictures, the company behind hard-hitting ITV documentaries including Her Majesty’s Prison: Aylesbury and Brady and Hindley: Possession. This programme is produced and directed by Will West and Matt Haan. The executive producers are Paul Hamann and Tom Anstiss.