Six fraudsters including former Welsh international sentenced to over 25 years in £5m football apprenticeship scam
26 February, 2018 | News Releases
Today Keith Williams, Paul Sugrue and former Welsh International Mark Aizlewood were sentenced to a total of 25 years and 5 months’ imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court for their part in a £5m apprenticeship fraud scheme that targeted colleges, charities, football clubs and sports associations.
Jack Harper was also sentenced for a related fraud that targeted a single college.
Additionally, Christopher Martin and Steven Gooding were sentenced following guilty pleas before the start of the trial last year.
Together the men ran Luis Michael Training Ltd which operated fraudulently from its launch in 2009 – it created bogus apprenticeships enabling them to divert to themselves £5m of public funds intended by the Skills Funding Agency for young people.
Approaching further education colleges as a subcontractor, Luis Michael Training claimed it would provide training services to create football coaching apprenticeships for young people. Instead, the company set about creating a fraudulent scheme in which most never received the qualifications or training that was promised. The defendants also stole and created identities to cover up their crimes.
Sentencing the men, His Honour Judge Tomlinson said:
“This was a shameful exploitation of taxpayers and colleges. You misappropriated eye-watering sums of Government money on the pretence of helping disadvantaged young people. You all exploited this sad state of affairs and your involvement was dishonest from the outset.”
SFO General Counsel Alun Milford said:
“These men stole public money intended to give young people a start in life – these were cynical crimes for which they have been held to account today.”
Mark Aizlewood was sentenced to six years.
Christopher Martin was sentenced to two years and three months and five years and three months’ imprisonment to be served concurrently.
Keith Williams was sentenced to three and four years’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently.
Paul Sugrue was sentenced to three and seven years’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently.
Steven Gooding received a 20 month prison sentence.
Jack Harper received two 18 month sentences, to be served concurrently.
Jack Harper and Steven Gooding were also disqualified as directors for seven years each.
Notes to editors:
- For more details of the case against Luis Michael Training please see our conviction news release here.