Witness in Norfolk fraud trial was offered £100,000 to drop case
PUBLISHED: 10:01 16 February 2012
A Utah commodities dealer who claimed he was duped out of more than $920,000, told a court he was offered $100,000 if he would tell Norfolk police he wanted to drop alleged fraud charges, a court heard yesterday.
Randall Schreiber was one of the alleged victims of fraud along with Norwich entrepreneur Graham Dacre, who was allegedly tricked out of almost £12m.
Defendants Ian Yorkshire, 61, of Clarendon Villas, Brighton; lan Hunt, 65, of The Avenue, Poole; Arthur “Trevor” Ford-Batey, 61, of Miles McInnes Court, Carlisle; David “Fraser” Roberts, 62, of Montpelier Road, Brighton; and Kevin Brennan, 55, of Kirkburn, Driffield, are charged with defrauding Mr Dacre.
The five men, along with Brennan’s brother, Martin, 40, of Bracken Road, Stockton-on-Tees, are also charged with laundering the money.
Hunt, Ford-Batey and Roberts are also charged with conspiracy to defraud Mr Schreiber in 2004 and launder the money. The three men along with Yorkshire also allegedly defrauded and money laundered from a church in Dortmund, Germany, in 2007. All men deny the charges.
Mr Schreiber told Norwich Crown Court he had been tempted to make the investment of $920,000 on the promise of big returns.
He paid over the cash in installments by April 2005 and he said secrecy surrounded the investment, which made it seem like “the real deal”.
“They were very secretive about who they were and what they did,” he said.
He told the jury the investment had seemed like an “elusive dream” and after being introduced by Roberts he had met Hunt in London where he spoke of the money to be made and of Hunt’s dreams for setting up charitable trusts with some of the profits.
Mr Schreiber said he was promised his money would be safe but when the money failed to materialise and he asked for his cash back it was never handed back. “I had to beg these people for information but was given excuse after excuse,” he said.
He had contemplated taking legal action but the cost had put him off.
He then was contacted by Norfolk police as part of its fraud investigation and asked if he wanted to make a complaint.
Mr Schreiber said he spoke to Hunt who, he claimed, tried to warn him off going to the police and said he would try to get the money back.
Mr Schreiber also claimed that, through a financial advisor, he was offered $100,000 by Hunt if he wrote a letter to Norfolk police saying he wanted to withdraw his complaint. “He wanted me to discredit Norfolk police department,” he said. “He wanted me to say there was no case.”
Mr Scheiber claimed Hunt threatened to “smear him” if he went against him.
The trial continues.