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Lichfield and Burntwood residents sentenced in £200,000 online fraud case

Twelve people have been sentenced after an online fraud based in Lichfield that raked in more than £200,000.

The scam involved advertising goods such as iPhones, iPads and computers that did not exist on the Gumtree classified advertisement site.

Almost 300 victims across the country were each conned out of hundreds of pounds before a three-year Staffordshire Police investigation led to the arrest of more than 50 people for offences including conspiracy to commit fraud or money laundering.

Ten people were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today (September 28) after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud at earlier hearings.

The sentencing included:

  • Brothers Calvin Ainsworth (19), of Deavall Way, Heath Hayes, and Jared Ainsworth (24), of Great Colmore Street, Birmingham, were both jailed for two years and eight months. A third brother, Ashley Ainsworth (22), of The Chequers, Lichfield, was jailed for ten months.
  • Their sister Rebekah Ainsworth (25), from Lichfield, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 40 days of work in the community.
  • Their father Alan Ainsworth (46), of Great Colmore Street, Birmingham, was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 30 days of work in the community.
  • Kyle Atkinson (19), of James Green Way, Lichfield, was jailed for 13 and a half months.
  • Gregory Collett (30), of Leyfields, Lichfield, was jailed for 12 months.
  • Samantha Hartshorne (24), of St Johns Wood Close, Burntwood, was given an eight month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 100 hours of work in the community.
  • Liam Bradley (25), of Oakenfield, Lichfield, was given a six month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 150 hours of work in the community.
  • Thomas Grey (21), of Hillside, Lichfield, was given a 12-month prison sentence to run consecutively with a previous sentence.

Two other people were sentenced after admitting money laundering. Kelly Boswell (33), of Burwaye Close, Lichfield, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 120 hours of work in the community while Jason Cooke (23), of Wood Ridings, Lichfield, was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 120 hours of work in the community.

Inspector Darren Oakey, Lichfield Local Policing Team Commander, said: “The Ainsworth family, who were all based in the Lichfield area at the time, were the driving force behind these crimes.

“The fraudsters used various means via text or email of persuading people to part with money. Rather than meeting the victims face to face they got them to pay directly into their bank account.

“Their tactics included posing as a deaf woman who was raising money for their dog which was dying of stomach cancer. The offenders had no intention of supplying the goods which they advertised and didn’t even possess.

“People can innocently fall victim to fraud if they don’t take appropriate steps to safeguard their transactions. It can only take a minute to happen, but can make someone’s life a misery.

“These sentenced demonstrate our determination to crack down on this type of callous, deceptive crime.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.