A FRAUDSTER has been jailed for five years after defrauding almost £2 million from businesses using invalid cheques.

Christopher Peach, aged 51, of Scotland Street, Ellesmere in Shropshire was sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court on December 4 after pleading guilty to 18 counts of fraud by false representation and one count of money laundering.

The investigation began in 2018 following suspicions that Peach had fraudulently submitted high-value cheques to multiple companies including stockbrokers, investment and money transfer firms from either closed accounts, or accounts with insufficient funds.

Peach would lie about the source of his funds as he claimed a refund or carried out further transactions before the cheque being rejected. The money he frequently made was used to buy the hotel he managed in Shrewsbury, but the sale did not complete after the cheque he made to the solicitors bounced.

Peach also lied about bankruptcy by changing his name, allowing a loophole with due diligent checks as he would continue to commit offences.

Detective Constable James Lees, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “Peach is a prolific fraudster who committed a £1.9 million cheque fraud from businesses between October 2016 and November 2019.

"He showed no regard for the significant loss and impact he has had caused to his victims. We hope this case demonstrates to that those who commit fraud will be brought to justice.

“ Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud or knows of someone who has can report it via our website."