Trio in the dock over £155k fraud scam

Pic shows John Fitzgerald'Three men accused of plotting to swindle the Open University out of more than �155,000 denied fraud when they appeared at the Old Bailey today (Thurs).''The trio are said to have told bosses to change the bank details they used to pay supplier Rapp Media.''The resulting �155,617 was then cleaned up through a series of bank accounts, it is alleged.'SEE STORY CENTRAL NEWS
Pic shows John Fitzgerald'Three men accused of plotting to swindle the Open University out of more than �155,000 denied fraud when they appeared at the Old Bailey today (Thurs).''The trio are said to have told bosses to change the bank details they used to pay supplier Rapp Media.''The resulting �155,617 was then cleaned up through a series of bank accounts, it is alleged.'SEE STORY CENTRAL NEWS
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A South Kelsey man faces trial at the Old Bailey for allegedly plotting to swindle the Open University out of more than £155,000.

John Fitzgerald, 30, of Waddingham Road is one of three men accused of fraud.

The trio, who all deny the charge, are said to have told university bosses to change the bank details they used to pay supplier Rapp Media.

The resulting £155,617 was then cleaned up through a series of bank accounts, it is alleged.

Matthew King, 29, of St Hybalds Grove, Brigg, Richmond Ekwenye, 42, of Abbey Mews, Dunstable, and Mr Fitzgerald denied taking part in fraud during a brief court appearance at the Old Bailey.

They also denied a second fraud charge in which law firm Stratton and Feinstein was allegedly conned out of £121,952 when they were instructed to settle a civil damages claim.

King pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to enter into a money laundering arrangement, a charge denied by the other defendants.

He denied acquiring criminal property. And the court heard he will claim he had no knowledge of wider fraud.

Mr Fitzgerald denied possessing a list of names and numbers central to the plot on June 26 last year.

Mr Ekwenye denied possessing bank cards and account details used in the alleged scam between April and September last year.

The Open University fraud is said to have taken place in August last year, while the second is said to have occurred between March and April.

Judge Charles Wide QC bailed the defendants ahead of a trial later this year.

King admitted two counts of conspiracy to enter into a money laundering arrangement. He denies two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and acquiring criminal property.

Mr Fitzgerald and Mr Ekwenye each deny two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, two counts of conspiracy to enter into a money laundering arrangement and a single count of possessing articles for use in fraud.