To make this site simpler, we place small data files on your computer known as cookies. Most of our cookies are strictly necessary in order for the website to function correctly and these cookies do not store any of your personal data.

We also allow you to choose whether to allow Google Analytics cookies or not. Google Analytics cookies improve our understanding of how you use the website so we can make sure it meets your needs. If you should choose to accept the Google Analytics cookie, we will still anonymise all data collected.

Click here to find out more on the SFO's privacy policy and use of cookies.

Analytics Cookies

SFO investigates football apprenticeship schemes

16 May, 2012 | News Releases

Three men have been arrested in an investigation into a suspected fraud surrounding football-based apprenticeship schemes financed by the Skills Funding Agency.

Early this morning Serious Fraud Office investigators, together with officers from four police forces (i.e. Gwent, South Wales, Greater Manchester and Merseyside) searched four homes and a business property as part of a probe into the dealings of Luis Michael Training Ltd (“LMT”), a company that was involved in the enrolment, assessment and verification for apprenticeships and NVQ programmes for young people working in community sport, mainly through football clubs and coaching companies.

It is suspected that LMT produced false documentation, including registration papers, progress reviews and coaching examination certificates to falsely show to further education colleges and examining boards that training and apprenticeship placements had been successfully achieved and completed. Through the colleges, LMT received payment for each apprentice enrolled and placed with an employer. The colleges were, in turn, funded through a government scheme overseen by the Skills Funding Agency. It is believed that LMT fraudulently overstated the number of students and apprenticeships that they had placed. The suspected offences include fraudulent trading, false accounting and forgery.

LMT was based in Newport, Gwent but is now defunct. The period being investigated spans 2009 – 2011. It is provisionally estimated that the total suspected fraudulent claims made by LMT to a number of colleges is in excess of £1.6 million.

The business property searched is in Southport. The residential properties searched are in Cardiff (where a 51-year old man was arrested), Chepstow (a 52-year old man) Heywood, Manchester (a 29-year old man) and Southport.

Two of the men arrested have been interviewed and released without charge on unconditional bail. The third is still being interviewed but will similarly be released without charge on unconditional bail.

Notes for editors:

1) The search operation involved over 70 personnel (i.e. 52 SFO investigators and 20 police officers).

2) The case was accepted by the SFO in September 2011 following a referral by Gwent Police who continue on this case as the SFO’s police partner.

Related Cases