Man put on pounds 10m bail guilty of fraud

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The Independent Online
A businessman who made British legal history when his bail was set at a record pounds 10m was found guilty yesterday of taking part in a massive computer leasing fraud.

Southwark Crown Court was told that Leonard Bartlett, 49, chairman and managing director of the ICS Group, turned to crime in a fruitless bid to save his debt-ridden business.

The father of four and his former finance director, Ian Mackintosh, who pleaded guilty to various offences, repeatedly manipulated the leasing market to bring in funds.

The three-month trial was told they leased out valuable computer systems to a string of companies and then illegally used the agreements as collateral to raise money from more than one lender at a time. Their victims included the merchant bankers Kleinwort Benson. Total losses were put at pounds 10m.

Bartlett, of Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, was convicted of fraudulent trading, obtaining property by deception andprocuring the execution of a valuable security. He was cleared of three other charges.

Before the trial started, Mackintosh, 40, of Chelsea, south-west London, admitted six charges of procuring the execution of a valuable security,using a false instrument, obtaining property by deception and fraudulent trading.

Both will be sentenced next month and face up to 10 years in jail. The case was the culmination of a five-year inquiry by Scotland Yard's fraud squad, and with inquiries initially involving pounds 60m, was the largest investigation they had taken on.

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