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2 June 2010, 08:17
Twin brothers from Brighton have each been jailed for seven years after being convicted of obtaining around £5 million in a horse racing betting scam. Paul and Gregory Spicer, 35, have been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud following a five-week trial at Brighton Crown Court.
A third man, Lee O'Donnell, 62, was jailed for 21 months for his lesser role in the scheme, which was carried out over a four-year period. Police were first alerted to the scam in 2006 following complaints from victims throughout the UK who had received unsolicited leaflets through the post advertising a scheme to join a horse racing betting syndicate. The series of leaflets and brochures were printed including the names John 'Jock' McCracken, Robert Carter Racing, and Paul Howell Racing.
Paul Spicer, of Dyke Road, Brighton, Gregory Spicer, of The Drove, Brighton, and O'Donnell, of Eaton Gardens, Hove, were then arrested last year following a joint investigation between Sussex Police's major fraud unit and London Borough of Merton Trading Standards, codenamed Operation Cantonese. The three men were found to have conspired with each other and with others between April 30 2003 and February 13 2008 to defraud prospective and actual participants in various purported betting services and purported investment services, doing so by making false claims in relation to the investment services and seeking and receiving payment in relation to that which the services referred to.
Restraint orders have been put in place for the defendants' possessions and police now plan formal confiscation proceedings against them.
Detective Constable Valerie Henwood said: ``This was an excellent example of co-operation between law enforcement agencies.
``We separately had information about the activities of these men but were soon able to work together and eventually bring them to court. This case serves as a timely reminder to horse racing punters - be very careful about entrusting your money to anyone. The old saying applies - if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.''