Francis ‘Frank’ Madden took holidays around the Mediterranean while his businesses fraudulently obtained hundreds of thousands of pounds from unsuspecting customers.
Madden, 61 from Bournemouth, has been jailed for 40 months and barred from holding a directorship for a decade! The Conman, who was jailed this week, ruled his companies with an ‘Iron Fist’, despite spending much of his time on cruises with his wife and spending thousands of pounds in doing so.
Staff at his companies, Central Marketing LTD, Glenleigh LTD and Reco Corp LTD, were instructed to cold-call hundreds of people a day inviting them to attend a two-hour presentation. Instead, sales reps subjected customers to unlimited hours of hard selling techniques, with the promise of valuable holiday products. Customers reported, after enduring hours of hard selling, during which loud music was played continuously, they were escorted to cash machines and forced to pay-up. They were then told that all contracts had a mandatory 14 day cooling-off period, which, when customers attempted to cancel, were told it was not possible to do so.
For the customers who attempted to use their holiday product, they found the accommodation was mediocre and not up to the promised higher standard. Customers also complained of limited availability when trying to book and the same holidays being available elsewhere at a significantly lower price. When customers attempted to complain, their calls and emails were ignored and the company had even moved premises.
The trial was scheduled to last six weeks in court, but was cut short as Madden pleaded guilty to three counts of fraudulent trading. He also admitted a charge of breaching a suspended sentence from 2012, relating to a conviction of 8 counts of unfair trading for yet another holiday products scam.
The Judge at Bournemouth Crown Court stated Madden’s behaviour and actions were ‘reprehensible’.
Working for Madden, Claire Garland, his co-defendant, admitted to two counts of failing to provide cancellation rights. Representing 29 year old Garland, Neil Fitzgibbon stated his client was ‘gullible’ and a ‘puppet‘ to Madden and, as a result of her involvement with him, bogged down in debt. Garland was sentenced to a 12 month Conditional Discharge.
Also appearing in court, Keith Furneval was charged with Fraudulent Trading and Jean Furneval charged with Money Laundering. Both were found not guilty after prosecutors offered no evidence against them.
In Sentencing Madden, Judge Stephen Climie Said: “his behaviour was commercially inept, and on occasion morally irresponsible, if not reprehensible. He was prepared to put people at risk”.
Mis-selling of holiday products is unfortunately common practice within the holiday industry and these types of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between. If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Point’s based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.
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