A MARRIED couple who conned vulnerable people out of £1.9m have been jailed for a total of 11½ years.
Dennis McGinley, 30, and Bianca McGinley, nee Broadway, 25, from the Taunton travelling community, targeted five victims in Somerset, North Yorkshire and Staffordshire.
Dennis McGinley admitted conspiracy to defraud, blackmail and money laundering at Leeds Crown Court last Wednesday and was sentenced to eight years.
Bianca McGinley admitted conspiracy to defraud and money laundering and received a three-and-a-half-year jail term.
The conspiracy to defraud happened between March 1, 2006, and March 18, 2009, and was jointly investigated by North Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Avon and Somerset Police.
The court heard the McGinleys mainly targeted members of the farming and business community and relentlessly exploited the vulnerability of individuals who had become involved in business transactions with the travelling community.
Cash or bank transfers for the purchase of vehicles were demanded and the victims placed in such fear that, although they had lost many hundreds of thousands of pounds, were reluctant to speak to the police.
The victim in Somerset – a vulnerable man living on his own – lost more than £80,000.
DC Rebecca Maddison, who led the Avon and Somerset investigation, said the victim was drawn into the scam after the McGinleys claimed to be rogue trader debt collectors who had money for him which they had collected from cowboy builders who worked on his property.
He had to declare himself bankrupt and leave his home as a result of the scam and his health was also badly affected.
DC Maddison said: “The effect on the Somerset victim has been devastating so we are glad to be able to see some closure for him in this case. We are really pleased with the result.”
One of the pair's victims, from Somerset, tells of his experience in the video on this page.