A man who allegedly masqueraded as the comedian Peter Kay's brother in order to con pub landlords out of money for a fictitious charity gig was named yesterday as one of Britain's most-wanted fraud fugitives.
Crimestoppers released the names and mugshots of the top 10 people who are wanted by police for fraud and scams allegedly worth £200m.
Peter Stead, 48, is accused of conning landlords in Derbyshire out of thousands of pounds by claiming to be the brother of the Bolton comedian, Kay, and promising to put on charity fundraisers that never took place.
He allegedly offered to put on a show for the Lewis Mighty Fund which was set up in the Derby area to send a six-year-old boy who has cancer to America for treatment.
Others included on the list include a carer accused of stealing more than £35,000 from her elderly patient and a man who went on the run after he was convicted for a massive VAT scam.
The founder and chairman of Crimestoppers, Lord Ashcroft, called on the public to be on the look-out for the fugitives and urged anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111. "This is not a victimless crime," he said. "Every single one of us is paying higher taxes, bank charges and insurance fees because of fraud. The amount of fraud against the public purse is around £27bn a year. This is equivalent to 30 per cent of the estimated national education budget for 2011-12."
He added: "Serious fraudsters often operate as part of gangs and fraud is just one of their business streams. This can result in the funding of drugs and people trafficking, which causes real harm to many."
Nasser Ahmed, a crooked businessman from Bristol, has been on the run for half a decade after he was sentenced to six years in jail for his role in a £156m VAT fraud, thought to be the largest scam uncovered by Customs officials. At one point, Bristol Crown Court heard, he was depositing as much as £500,000 into a Royal Bank of Scotland account every day.
Jascent Nakawunde, 33, also known as Tania Bird, is wanted for questioning in connection with an alleged £35,000 fraud in the Cardiff area between 2007 and 2008. She was employed as a live-in carer for a woman in her 80s. During this time, she is accused of stealing cheques from the woman which were allegedly paid into false accounts.