Judge orders fraudsters Simon Ricket and Dillon Boivin, of UK Websaver, to compensate victims
Two convicted fraudsters who conned business people out of thousands of pounds have been ordered by a judge to pay them back – out of their own pockets.
Simon Rickett (32), of Grantham Road, Bottesford, and Dillon Boivin (38), of Orton Close, Rearsby, were directors of loyalty card franchise firm UK Websaver, which was run originally from Glenfield before moving to offices in Desford Road, Enderby.
At a court case in January, both men were convicted of eight counts of fraud. They received 12-month jail sentences, suspended for two years, and were ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid community work.
Yesterday, during a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Leicester Crown Court, Rickett and Boivin were each ordered to pay £82,500 – £165,000 in total – to compensate eight former franchisees.
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Judge Simon Hammond said the pair had six months to pay up.
"My aim here is to help those who have lost out as much as I can," he said. "My concern is for them. At least this order means they will receive some sort of compensation."
The court heard it had cost Leicestershire County Council's trading standards service £50,000 to bring the four-year-long case to court. No order was made for costs, however, as such an order might bankrupt the defendants.
After the court hearing, Gary Connors, legal affairs manager of the county's trading standards service, said there may be more former franchisees who lost money dealing with UK Websaver.
"It is up to them now if they want to take out their own civil action after this case," he said.
"I'm satisfied with the judge's verdict. It has taken a long time to get to this point and it has cost us a lot in time, money and resources – but this is what we do.
"We want to protect consumers from this kind of behaviour."
The original court case in January heard Rickett and Boivin promised huge rewards to investors, who were invited to purchase various post coded areas of the UK and sell a loyalty card scheme to businesses in that area.
Rickett and Boivin claimed many well-known firms – Asda, Harrods, Boots, Tesco and Curry's – were involved in the business. They were not. They had never heard of UK Websaver.
The business was not "tried and tested," as they claimed. Successful pilot schemes had not been run across the country, as they claimed.
Rickett and Boivin continually maintained their innocence.
When the trading standards service launched its investigation, aided by the City of London fraud squad, officers found a trail of Skype messages which told a different story.
"Trading standards can't touch us," said Rickett in one message. "We'll challenge everything. If worst comes to worst, we'll just bankrupt the businesses."
Former franchisee Mark Gee, of Warwickshire, lost money investing in UK Websaver.
"I'm so pleased justice has been done," he said yesterday.
"The whole period was awful. They were so convincing and yet so unscrupulous.
"I'd like to say thank you to both the Leicester Mercury and Leicestershire County Council's trading standards service for having the determination to see this through to the end."