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S I T TI BI
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THURSDAY, 26th NOVEMBER, 2009.
INSIDE: OUR COMPREHENSIVE PROPERTY GUIDE FEATURING LOCAL ESTATE AGENTS
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Pollution is soaked upReaders' Views Pages 22-25Page 30
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How did fraudster get his hands on all of that money?
90-bed care home planne
Police attempts to retrieve money from a convicted fraudster have been delayed because his defence team have been unable to explain how he obtained much of his multi million pound fortune.
The taxpayer may now have to fund up to £30,000 to help Maurice Taylor, from Kermincham near Congleton, explain where his money came from.
Taylor could eventually lose his fortune, thought to amount to over £20m, in what may be Cheshire’s largest
roceeds of crime case. Taylor, (61), also known as Lord Windsor, was convicted of
six counts of fraud in March.
He was charged after passing off a painting he knew to be a replica, and had bought in 2004 for £7,500, as an original LS Lowry, selling it to art dealer David Smith for £330,000 in 2007.
He told Mr Smith he had bought the painting from a Manchester industrialist, Eddie Rosenfeld, in the 70s. He had also tried to sell it to two other dealers and auction houses using the same story.
Mr Smith had paid £230,000 to Taylor by the time he realised the painting was not an original.
When sentenced to three years in prison, Judge Roger Dutton called him “a fraud, a cheat and a thoroughly dishonest man.”
Taylor bought the Lord Windsor title in 2000 for £1,000.
A proceeds of crime hearing, designed to retrieve the money he had gained through illegal activities, was due to take place at Chester Crown Court on
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Tuesday, but was postponed until February.
Prosecution lawyer Sion Ap Mihangel told the hearing that Taylor had not provided them with the documents they needed to proceed, and that the origin of much of his wealth remained a mystery.
He said: “There are millions of pounds of unexplained accounting.
“A statement must be provided by the defence with evidence to substantiate his fi nancial transactions.”
Dennis Talbot, defending, said that his client’s fi nancial background was so complicated that a report into it would likely be over 1,000 pages long.
He said: “In our statements we have had things pointed out to us that we could not explain.
“The money for the victim is there, but we will have to look
at how to disperse the assets that remain.
“He is certainly not going to be left with anything.”
Mr Talbot told the hearing that the defence may need to hire a forensic accountant to trace the origins of the money, and this could cost the public purse £30,000.
Judge Roger Dutton said: “I’m sure the defendant will do whatever he has to to co-operate.”
He was told that Taylor could be released from prison to a detention curfew as early as May, just over a year after starting his three-year sentence.
The proceeds of crime hearing was then adjourned to 26th February next year — Mr Smith cannot retrieve the money he paid Taylor until after that date. ●— Turn to back page.
Roads shut as barn burned
for 24 hoursA big barn blaze that closed roads around Chance Hall Farm in Congleton on Monday took 24 hours to control.
The burning continued until 9pm on Tuesday and fi refi ghters fi nally left the scene yesterday (Wednesday).
Around 400 tonnes of hay were alight in the blaze that also caught a tractor, trailer, a Nissan cab pick up, a sawdust disperser, a 30-tonne distiller feeder, a tonne of lime, a ton of magnesium, a ton of sawdust and a ton of animal feed. The Environmental Agency was informed because of the chemicals
Chance Hall Lane, from the A34 junction, and nearby Pool Side, were closed for the gathering of forensic evidence, but the routes were open again yesterday. The cause of the fi re has not been established
Drivers going on the A34 on Monday night could see the fi ery glow and smoke was still drifting the following morning.
Eight fi re crews, including appliances from Congleton, Middlewich, Winsford, Wilmslow and Northwich responded. They set up a water shuttle and made a fi re break inside the barn to tackle the blaze, which had been reported at 1.30pm on Monday.
Congleton Christmas card designer winners Ruarih Walker, Joseph Thompson and Cloe Lockett joined Santa to help promote Congleton’s Christmas extravaganza, being held tomorrow (Friday). For more information, turn to the back page. (“Chronicle” photo. 4815b/09).