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British fugitive fraudster arrested in South Africa

14 Mai, 2015 | Eitemau newyddion

A former company director sentenced to prison as a result of a joint Serious Fraud Office and Greater Manchester Police investigation has been arrested by the South African authorities and is today facing extradition proceedings after having fled the UK.

Raymond Andrew Nevitt, 51, of Manchester, was convicted and sentenced in 2008 to 3 years, nine months’ imprisonment for five counts of fraudulent trading in relation to the Ravelle Group of companies, which sold second hand computer parts to the PC maintenance industry. He had absconded in October 2006 following a conviction in a linked SFO case.

Nevitt was arrested late yesterday in Cape Town by the South African Police Service after having hid there for 5 years. At the time of the arrest he was found with 28 mobile phones and a large quantity of sim cards in his possession.

Nevitt is expected to be extradited to the UK to serve his sentence.  In October 2008 he was ordered to pay a £1.6 million confiscation order by May 2009 or face a further 10 years’ imprisonment in default.

Alun Milford, SFO General Counsel said:

“This arrest follows years of close work between the Serious Fraud Office, National Crime Agency, Greater Manchester Police and the South African authorities.”

The £3.5m fraud centred on the creation of false documents designed to deceive creditors such as IBM and Barclays into providing further finance to the Ravelle Group. Nevitt, who was the driving force behind all three companies within the Ravelle Group (Ravelle Limited, PC2GO Limited and Ravelle Printers Limited, trading as “Just Printers Limited”) based in Trafford Park, Manchester, was one of four company directors sentenced for the crime in 2008.

Nevitt commonly used company credit cards for personal expenses and travel. He led an extravagant lifestyle, making numerous foreign trips to destinations such as Las Vegas, Monaco, Verbier and Singapore.  Additionally, he financed a number of company cars for himself including a Ferrari and three BMWs.  He crashed and wrote off the Ferrari after he drove it in the Gumball Rally.  

Notes to editors

1.     Nevitt was convicted of Conspiracy to Defraud on 3 October 2006 before His Honour Judge Steiger in Manchester Crown Court, in respect of which he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment (trial 1).  Pending sentence Nevitt had been released on bail and failed to surrender to custody. A warrant was issued for his arrest on 16 November 2006.

2.     Trial 1 concerned a conspiracy to defraud the Engineering and Marine Training Authority (“EMTA”) by means of fraudulent claims for funding in respect of training employees of Ravelle Limited, Ravelle Computers Limited trading as “PC2Go” (“PC2Go”) and Ravelle Printers Limited trading as Just Printers (“Just Printers”) (together, “the Ravelle Group”), companies under his control.

3.     Nevitt was subsequently further convicted of five counts of fraudulent trading in his absence on 20 March 2008, contrary to section 458 of the Companies Act 1985 in that he and others were knowingly parties to the carrying on of the businesses of the Ravelle Group with intent to defraud creditors, to fraudulently obtain factoring finance and to facilitate claims for factoring finance.  He was sentenced to 45 months imprisonment (trial 2).

4.     On 6 October 2008, Nevitt was ordered to pay the sum of £1.6 million by way of confiscation of the proceeds of crime by 6 May 2009 or face a further 10 years imprisonment in default.

5.     Nevitt was issued a passport in an assumed name in October 2006 after having obtained a certified copy birth certificate from Belfast Registry Office of a British citizen living in Belfast and left the country. He is believed to have first fled to Spain. He subsequently failed to surrender to custody.  On 26 April 2008 Nevitt entered Thailand at Bangkok Airport, using the fraudulently obtained genuine passport. He secured a visa under the assumed identity and lived in Bo Phut, Koh Samui offering his services as a driver. Nevitt subsequently left Thailand, possibly early in 2010 and subsequently made his way to South Africa.

6.     For further information on the two trials and sentences please see SFO news releases here and here.