Cash from fraud to help in training

Editorial image
Editorial image

The proceeds of a multi-million pound junk mail fraud are being used to fund apprenticeships by Bedford Borough Council.

The money is part of the total amount of £762,500 the council will receive after the successful legal case against Hendrick Meniru, who operated a series of international scams.

Now, £450,000 of the ill-gotten gains will fund 15 apprenticeship places annually over the next three years.

The places will be working within the council which will partner with Bedford College.

These apprenticeship places are available to all but will be particularly promoted to groups which might benefit from the scheme, such as ex-servicemen and Looked After Children.

Following a five-week trial in March 2013 at Luton Crown Court, and after an investigation by the council’s Regulatory Services, Meniru was found guilty of conning members of the public, usually the elderly or vulnerable, out of money through a number of bogus claims and promises.

Meniru, who was 49 at the and lived in Devon Road, Bedford, was ordered to pay £3 million in total plus associated costs of £200,000.

He was also given a three-year jail sentence.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Application (POCA), the council will receive the full costs of £200,000 plus a proportion of the confiscation order (£562,500).

As well as money being used for the apprenticeship scheme, it is planned that the balance of £312,500 will be used by the council to carry out further legal and enforcement activities.

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “We want to ensure that something positive can come out of this appalling, callous crime.

“This funding will be put to good use and shared between two vital purposes – providing training and employment opportunities, and the prevention of, and enforcement against, such crimes in the future.”