Football Club owner Charged with Fraud 

Football Club owner Charged with Fraud 

In a story that unveiled recently, Andy Pilley was imprisoned for corporate fraud after a trading standards investigation was conducted. The investigation found that Mr. Pilley had been mis-selling gas and electricity contracts worth approximately £15m while also creating and posting fake customer comments on company websites such as MoneySavingExpert.com and ISE.co.uk 

The mis-selling of the energy contracts was achieved by including false or misleading information about the contracts, information such as the price of the contract, the duration of the contract as well as falsifying competitor rates. Once the business owner agreed to go ahead, they were then transferred to a different sales representative who would go through the terms and conditions confirmed in the agreement, entering a binding verbal contract which had no cooling off period due to it being a business to business sale. 

Mr. Pilley resigned from his role as Chairman and club director of Fleetwood Town Football Club following his conviction and was sentenced for 13 years and disqualified from being a director of a company for 13 years. Mr. Pilley was found guilty of two counts of fraudulent trading, one count of false representation, and one count of being concerned with the retention of criminal property.  

Sister Michelle Davidson, and two other associates Lee Qualter and Joel Chapman were sentenced alongside Mr. Pilley. All four were found guilty by a jury at the end of an eight month trial. 

The Judge commented on Mr. Pilleys previous conviction in 1998 where he was imprisoned for four months for the conspiracy to steal from the post office while working as a counter clerk stating that “yours could have been a remarkable story of redemption, success, local heroism and philanthropy. Instead, it is a sordid tale of squalid lies, greed and fraud.” 

This story highlights the importance of conducting due diligence checks when considering entering contracts or agreements with individuals or businesses. Due diligence can help to interrogate the corporate history of individuals and companies, specifically looking for undisclosed red flags, adverse findings, false or exaggerated statements. This helps organisations stay clear of falling victim to corporate fraud.

Most due diligence checks involve searching a variety of sources which could include subscribed databases, press articles, company registries, court searches, public records and documents, insolvency registers, financial regulator fines and licenses, sanctions checks, as well social media platforms.