Tenbury man convicted of being part of a multimillion pound plot to defraud music industry firms jailed for four years (From Ludlow Advertiser)
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Tenbury man convicted of being part of a multimillion pound plot to defraud music industry firms jailed for four years
3:31pm Monday 19th March 2012 in Tenbury Wells
A 52-year-old Tenbury man convicted of being part of a multi-million pound Shropshire-based conspiracy to defraud major music companies has been jailed.
Michael Clent was involved in a plot to sell millions of CDs and DVDs which should have been destroyed.
He was jailed for three years for his role in the conspiracy based at a recycling plant in Newport, Shropshire.
Stephen Payne, 55, of Tetbury, Gloucestershire, was jailed for a total of four years and three months for the conspiracy and fraudulent trading.
Sentencing the two men Judge Jonathan Gosling said the scale of the deceit and level of profiteering had been massive.
Both men, convicted after a nine-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, were disqualified from being directors of any company for 10 years.
Clent, of The Oaklands, Tenbury, was said to have been "an important salesman" in the operation and Payne was a "clear leader" in the five-year plot.
Confiscation applications were made by the prosecution against both Payne and Clent under the Proceeds of Crime Act which will be heard later in the year.
Judge Gosling said the potential sale of thousands of discs found by police in barns at two Shropshire farms would have taken the fraudsters' profits to more than £10 million.
Discs sent to be destroyed by music companies which had instead been sold between 2001 and 2006, had already enriched the defendants by more than £8 million "It would have been even more - up to £10 million - if they had sold what was found by police in the barns," he said.
Judge Gosling said the music companies targeted by the fraudsters, which included Universal, Sony and EMI, had been significantly damaged by the discs being sold at reduced prices on the "grey market".
Two Shropshire men, Cary Evans, 49, of Minsterley, and Shaun Norton, 38, of Newport, were acquitted of conspiracy by the jury.