Home » Man who established far-right Voice of Wales group handed suspended jail sentence for insurance fraud
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Man who established far-right Voice of Wales group handed suspended jail sentence for insurance fraud

A prominent far-right activist, known for founding the Voice of Wales group and advocating against “illegal” migrants, has received a suspended prison sentence for his involvement in a fraudulent scheme that swindled hundreds of unsuspecting individuals out of their savings.

Daniel Raymond Morgan, who co-established the group in Swansea alongside fellow activist Stan Robinson, had their YouTube channel permanently banned in 2021 due to its racist content. Morgan, who ran as a UKIP candidate for the Senedd in 2021, and was previously considered for the party’s general election candidacy in Llanelli’s constituency, now faces an uncertain political future in light of his conviction for participating in a reprehensible insurance scam that deceived many into parting with their money.

Swansea Crown Court was informed that a call center had been established to defraud individuals in the wake of the PPI scandal, generating an astounding 53 million fraudulent phone messages. The fraudsters falsely promised substantial payouts related to mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance policies, but their true intention was to extract victims’ credit card information and illicitly take their money.

Numerous individuals, including many elderly and vulnerable ones, fell victim to the call center’s deception, paying sums of up to £550 each, believing they were owed substantial PPI reimbursements. In the sentencing of the 16 individuals involved in the fraud, ranging from company directors to phone operators, the judge characterised the business’s intent as a “deliberate, planned fraud.”

According to Lee Reynolds, the prosecuting attorney, the fraudulent enterprise went by various names, including HES Synergy Limited and HES Savings Audit Ltd, and was established with the purpose of illicitly exploiting the financial turmoil surrounding mis-sold PPI. He stated that the fraud was meticulously orchestrated to create a false impression among victims, making them believe they were entitled to substantial PPI refunds and persuading them to pay a fee for claims processing.

The court learned that the scam began with the company disseminating millions of intentionally deceptive recorded messages, known as “voice broadcasts,” designed to ensnare potential victims. These messages were intended to create the illusion that the business possessed unique insights into individual financial matters, including knowledge of PPI payments and refund entitlements, which, in reality, they did not have.

The message said: “Our records indicate that you haven’t yet claimed back your PPI on certain loans and credit cards. You are owed thousands. To claim this back press 5 to speak to an advisor and 9 to opt out”.

In the span of three months, this message was broadcast an incredible 53,191,988 times.

The court was informed that, despite its brevity, the message included three significant false claims and essentially amounted to a “fishing” attempt. In actuality, the company lacked any “records” regarding individual consumers, had no means of ascertaining whether a consumer had ever acquired PPI, and the assertion that the victim was “owed thousands” was patently untrue.

According to the prosecutor, if a consumer responded to the initial voice broadcast message by pressing option “5,” their call would be directed to a “lead generator” at the Swansea call center, typically answering with the phrase, “You’re through to the refund department.” At this stage, the call center staff would collaborate in fraudulent activities aimed at acquiring the victim’s financial information and convincing them to pay the upfront fee.

As per the court’s information, following predefined scripts, the lead generators collected basic details from callers, including their name, address, date of birth, email address, general information about prior financial agreements, their bank’s name, and particulars of active credit cards. Deceptive expressions like “our solicitors” and “you’re on the database” were frequently employed to build trust, and specific refund amounts, supposedly owed to the callers, were cited.

Subsequently, the lead generators forwarded the victims’ information to a “closer,” who would call them back, presenting themselves variously as a “senior adviser,” a member of the “legal team,” or someone from the “verification team.” The closer would inform the victims that they intended to conduct a financial assessment to verify PPI agreements and search for any potentially overlooked agreements before determining the validity of a claim.

The court learned that the call center staff would then establish confidential email accounts for the victims and, using information gathered from prior calls, access individuals’ private credit reports from organizations such as Noddle, Clearscore, and Experian. Any additional data required by the fraudsters to access the credit reports was solicited from the victims under the pretense of data protection prerequisites or security verifications.

The court was informed that the credit reports contained no information regarding PPI payments or potential refunds, but the data was exploited to further deceive consumers into believing the company was legitimate and had access to a PPI database. After surreptitiously acquiring the credit report, the next step for the scammers involved a “closer” contacting the victim again. During this follow-up call, the closer would furnish the victim with details from the credit report, asserting that the “legal team” had given a “green light” and that a robust claim was in progress. However, all these claims were fraudulent.

It was at this juncture that the call center staff introduced the concept of an “upfront fee,” typically set at £550, which they presented to the victim as a “holding deposit” charged to their credit card during the claim processing, often dubbing it refundable. The closer would then urge the consumer to access their email account while on the phone so that they could immediately receive documents containing the terms and conditions for signing.

For individuals who lacked internet access or were unfamiliar with the online “e-sign” procedure, they were often asked to visit the local library or seek assistance from a family member to access their emails. If victims didn’t have an email account, the company arranged for a courier service to deliver the documents to them. The purpose behind swiftly securing a signature was to enable the company to collect the upfront fee as soon as possible. Nevertheless, evidence indicated that, in many instances, the fees were taken either before obtaining any signatures or without any signatures at all.

The prosecuting attorney, Mr. Reynolds, explained that victims typically received about five phone calls from the Swansea call center on the same day, frequently within a few hours. Each successive call was strategically designed to build the victim’s trust and reinforce the belief in a valid PPI claim. Following the provision of credit card details, the victim would often receive a final call to confirm the payment and inform them that their claim was commencing.

In an attempt to alleviate concerns about the company, victims were frequently assured that the company was “regulated,” “fully regulated,” or “government regulated.” They were also directed to the Companies House website to demonstrate that the firm was registered on a “government website.” For those who explored the Synergy website, they would come across fabricated customer testimonials, such as one claiming to be from a “Mr. Jones in Devon,” which read, “Synergy Express Audits were fast and reliable… and also passed my information onto their affiliate company to handle my PPI and package bank account fee. This was mis-sold to me and I got my refund in less than 12 weeks.” The court was informed that there was no evidence of a Mr. Jones from Devon who had received a refund in the company records.

Complaints from legitimate PPI reclaim companies regarding the conduct of HES Synergy prompted the Ministry of Justice to initiate an investigation into its operations in September 2015. The true scale and sophistication of the fraud became apparent after search warrants were executed at the company’s premises on Swansea Enterprise Park the following January.

The court learned that by the time of the raids, the business had already ceased trading, not out of moral qualms on the part of the scammers but because numerous dissatisfied consumers had utilized the chargeback process on their credit cards to seek reimbursement. Consequently, the company was encountering difficulties in securing payment providers willing to work with them.

Trading standards officers retrieved hundreds of thousands of recorded phone calls between staff and victims, as well as potential victims, along with the call center scripts containing deceptive and false statements that staff had been employing.

The prosecuting attorney highlighted that although the fraud was orchestrated from the upper echelons of the business, anyone involved in the PPI calls for any period would have recognised that dishonesty was “rampant, essential, and expected”. Within the call center, “lying to customers was the norm.”

Six defendants, including Morgan, were convicted in January of this year. However, reporting on the trial was restricted due to a pending second trial involving their co-accused. Subsequently, all the remaining defendants pleaded guilty.

Judge Huw Rees characterized the call center operation as a “deliberate, planned fraud carefully structured and fraudulent from its inception.”

He emphasised that greed was at the core of the conspiracy, overriding any compassion or concern for the victims. The defendants were regularly found to have misled individuals regarding the likelihood of PPI refunds, disseminating “blatant lies” over the phone.

The judge noted that these falsehoods came effortlessly to the defendants. He also highlighted that the fraud not only harmed individual victims, leaving them with a sense of “violation,” but also eroded public respect and confidence in the industry.

Nine of the defendants admitted to conspiracy to commit fraud, six were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud following a trial, and one confessed to money laundering.

Morgan, aged 38, residing on Lamberts Road, SA1 development, Swansea, was involved in the “Noddle team,” which fraudulently accessed people’s credit reports. He received a six-month suspended prison sentence for 12 months, with a rehabilitation course and a mental health treatment requirement.

Tom Scapens, representing Morgan, argued that given his lack of prior or subsequent convictions, the court might consider him not to be in need of rehabilitation. However, it’s important to note that Morgan has been a prominent far-right activist in Wales, and in 2021, YouTube removed two channels co-operated by him and fellow far-right activist Stan Robinson due to their racist content.

The Voice of Wales channel faced condemnation from Welsh politicians and race equality groups for hosting interviews with The Proud Boys, an American far-right group banned in Canada, and figures like former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson. The YouTube account termination was a result of violating the platform’s terms of service.

A second YouTube account created by the individuals was also removed.

Morgan typically goes by the name “Dan Morgan” and ran under this name in the 2021 Senedd election in Swansea East, receiving 3% of the votes. On the South Wales West regional list section of the ballot, he appeared as UKIP’s number two candidate under his full name, Daniel Raymond Morgan, with UKIP securing 2% of the votes. However, there has been no response from UKIP regarding potential action against Morgan following his conviction.