A debt collector who fraudulently took money from clients but never helped to recover any money has been jailed.
Robert Thomas Cree appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where he was jailed for 4 years and 10 months for two counts of fraudulent trading and one count of perverting the course of justice.
The court heard that Cree, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, ran a number of debt recovery companies: Monument Management Limited, Falcon Management and Redwood Business Management, trading as Rojen Recovery Services.
In November 2014, Monument Management was wound up and a criminal investigation was launched by the Insolvency Service.
Investigators found that the business was cold calling organisations, offering debt recovery services following payment of a subscription fee.
Cree received substantial payments but, in most cases, Monument Management never recovered debts and no service was provided. In the company’s liquidation he also impersonated the company’s director to deceive the Official Receiver. He was charged with fraudulent trading and perverting the course of justice in October 2018.
Investigators also discovered that after Monument Management Ltd was wound-up, Robert Cree incorporated Falcon Management. The new company offered similar debt recovery services but was also wound up in April 2018.
The liquidation of Falcon Management triggered an investigation by the Insolvency Service into Cree’s conduct, and he was disqualified as a company director for 11 years from May 2019.
Following his disqualification, in June 2019, Robert Cree pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading in relation to his conduct while director of Monument Management.
Prior to his sentencing, investigators discovered Robert Cree was also acting as director of Redwood Business Management Limited, trading as Rojen Recovery Services. This was a direct breach of his 11-year disqualification order and triggered a further criminal enquiry.
Investigators soon found that Cree operated Redwood in the same way as Monument and Falcon and had fraudulently obtained more than £170,000. Cree also used various aliases, including Robert Robinson, throughout his dealings with his victims.
On 18th January 2021, Robert Cree appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading in relation to Redwood Business Management.
On 30 April, appearing before HHJ Mallet, Robert Cree was sentenced to 4 years and 10 months in prison and disqualified from acting as a company director for 12 years for two counts of fraudulent trading and a count of perverting the course of justice relating to Monument Management and Redwood Business Management.
The Judge described Cree as ‘plainly not trustworthy or honest’ and said he knew what he was doing was wrong.
Julie Barnes, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said “Criminality like Robert Cree’s has a huge financial impact on the victim companies involved in his scams and the business community as a whole. We worked hard to fast track our investigation after information about a new company came to light during this defendant’s first sentencing.”
“Robert Cree refused to co-operate with investigators throughout but despite this, he has now been handed a lengthy sentence for his actions.”