A fraudster whose crimes totted up to £1.4 million as his cons reached as far as the Middle East has begun an eight year jail term.
Paul Lamb, who is also known as Paul Clarke, made false claims regarding the capabilities and successes of his company, IMS Ltd, in order to secure large investments from private investors.
The company, which supplied and fitted wi-fi systems, was in fact experiencing financial difficulties, and Lamb used the investments to pay off his debts, pay off other investors, and fund his lavish lifestyle.
The 43-year-old, who lived in Houghton when he was arrested in 2014, faced his fate at Carlisle Crown Court this month.
Police say that among the false representations made by Lamb were:
*That his company had large orders in both the UK and Middle East, supported by false invoices
*False Bank Payment Orders claiming large equipment orders to carry out the non-existent orders
*That his company had exclusive rights to install a certain type of wi-fi equipment in Europe and the Middle East
*Guarantees of a quick and substantial profit for investments, which was impossible to deliver
*That he owned outright a £249,000 holiday home that would be surety for investors.
The combined value of the loss to victims is approximately £1.4 million.
Lamb was initially arrested by Durham Constabulary officers in August 2014 in relation to fraud offences.
Due to the complex nature of the investigation, it was then allocated to North East Region Special Operations Unit (NERSOU.)
Following a lengthy investigation he pleaded guilty to all 25 counts on the indictment of fraud by false representation.
The case will be subject to a future Proceeds of Crime Application and Serious Crime Prevention Order Application.
Detective Inspector Alan Turner, from NERSOU, said: “This has been a very complex case, with evidence being obtained from the USA, Belgium, Middle East, and all over the UK.
“Without the victims and witnesses coming forward and assisting us in our investigations, this conviction would not have been possible.
"We’re very grateful for their cooperation throughout.”