Left to Right: Emiline Burdon, Sarah Burdon, Lynsey Burdon
Three sisters who were arrested for a series of fraud offences across the North West, including Merseyside, have today been sentenced to a total of four-and-a-half years in prison.
In February this year Merseyside’s Economic Crime Team and Cheshire Constabulary began a joint investigation into a Manchester based Organised Crime Group (OCG) who were committing payment card fraud, mainly in the Greater Manchester area, but also in Merseyside and Cheshire.
On 13th May 2020 officers from Cheshire Police executed warrants at the offender’s home addresses in Greater Manchester. Four women were arrested and a number of items were recovered included motorcycle clothing, a motor vehicle, electric scooters, furniture and a quantity of cash.
All four women pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and three were jailed at Chester Crown Court today (Tuesday 4 August) for a total of four-and-a-half years
Sarah Burdon, 40, of Evesham Road, Manchester was jailed for 18 weeks
Lynsey Burdon, 36, of Brynorme Road, Manchester was jailed for two years, two months
Emiline Burdon, 29, of Riverdale Road, Manchester was jailed for 22 months for the conspiracy and an additional six months for disqualified driving. She was also disqualified from driving for a further 12 months
Sonia Malhi, 37, of Hobson Crescent, Audenshaw, will be sentenced at a later date.
The court was told how the fraudsters stole till Merchant receipts from restaurants and hotels.
They would then attend high end stores and restaurants, including some in the Liverpool One and Met Quarter areas of Liverpool city centre, to purchase goods using the payment card details from the stolen receipts.
While the women kept some of the items they had purchased, on other occasions they would return to the stores and request a refund. The fraudster would then put their own payment card into the machine so the refund would credit their own personal bank account.
Between them the four women received over £16,000 worth of fraudulent refunds to their own personal bank accounts during this period.
From the initial offence on 17 December 2019, officers were able to identify more than 150 fraudulent transactions at various locations between October 2019 – May 2020 across the North West, Yorkshire and Leicestershire, with losses totalling over £62,000.
The goods targeted included designer clothing, power tools, high performance car parts, motorcycles and motorcycle accessories.
The Covid-19 lockdown did not stop the fraudsters who, when high street stores were closed, began targeting off licences and petrol stations where they would purchase alcohol, cigarettes and hundreds of pounds worth of Lottery tickets.
Detective Sergeant Paul Kay, from Merseyside Police’s Economic Crime Team, said: “This type of fraud is not victimless as the majority of these fraudulent transactions were charged-back to the store making them the loser and in some cases the loss to the store was greater than their weekly turnover.
“Also a number of staff members who dealt with the fraudsters were given written warning for conducting the transactions and in once case particular a member of staff was suspended and nearly sacked for not identifying the fraudulent transactions.
“We are committed to finding the people who are responsible for committing fraud and bringing them to justice and I would urge anyone who spots any suspicious activity which they believe to fraudulent to contact us or Action Fraud so that action can be taken to bring these people to justice.”
Detective Chief Inspector Clare Coleman, Crime Manager at Cheshire Police, said: “Today’s sentencing is the culmination of a lengthy and complex investigation spanning many force borders. This has focused on hundreds of fraud offences committed across the North West.
“Each one was carefully planned and fraudulent bank details were used to purchase high-value items from stores in Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire.
“The women committed the offences in order to fund their lavish lifestyles, buying expensive clothing, perfumes and designer sunglasses.
“It is clear that they had no thought as to the impact of their actions on both the businesses they were targeting and the legitimate customers whose credit card details they decided to steal.
“Thankfully, as a result of the joint investigation by officers from Cheshire and Merseyside, three of the women are now behind bars.”
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC, @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 or @actionfrauduk