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UK Punter Charged Over $8m Bet Scams
Notorious UK punter & tipster John McCracken "who was effectively warned-off for life in 2004 for refusing to co-operate with a UK Jockey Club race-fixing investigation, was among 3 men charged by Sussex police with conspiracy to defraud more than £5 million (A$8m) in relation to alleged betting scams" reported racingpost.com. McCracken, 45, "will appear on bail at Brighton Magistrates Court on Friday June 29, along with Matthew Thole, 39, a company director & racing tipster from Cardiff, plus self-employed John Brice, 39, of Hove". They are all charged that between 30 April 2003 & 13 February 2008, they "conspired with each other & with Paul Spicer, Greg Spicer, Lee O'Donnell & others to defraud prospective & actual participants in various purported betting services & purported investment services by making false claims in relation to the betting services, making false claims in relation to the investment services & seeking & receiving payments in relation to those services referred to". The charges "follow a 9-month investigation by the major fraud unit of Sussex Police". It is alleged that more than £5 million (A$8m) was "obtained by the defendants as a result of their convincing hundreds of individuals across the UK to invest in non-existent betting brochure schemes". Since being banned from the sport, McCracken "has enjoyed taunting the authorities, making regular racecourse visits, often wearing a disguise & claiming to own a string of racehorses that carry the colours of friends & associates". The Spicer twins "were convicted of conspiracy to defraud & each jailed for 7 years in June 2010 following a 5-week trial & O'Donnell received a 21-month sentence as part of the same case".