back to article Nuisance call boss gets 8-year ban after trying to dodge firms' £700k fines

A rogue company director branded one of the worst perpetrators in the nuisance calling game has been banned from running companies in the UK for eight years. Welshman Richard Jones was responsible for setting up two companies that fell foul of Brit privacy watchdog the ICO after breaking direct marketing laws. Your Money …

  1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Pint

    Not bad, but...

    They should have put him in prison for 8 years instead.

    Or...Better idea...Revoke his citizenship and send him to Syria to keep Shamima company!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Not bad, but...

      The one problem is they fine the company, not the guy in charge. Prison would also work. So why can't they do both?

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Not bad, but...

        "The one problem is they fine the company, not the guy in charge."

        Since December they've been able to do both.

        About bloody time.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Not bad, but...

      Or lock him up in a cell. With a phone.

      “Hello...*pause*

      Hi, my name’s Samantha Brown.

      *pause*

      Have you been fined or imprisoned for something that wasn’t your fault?

      *pause*”

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Not bad, but...

        Or lock him up in a cell. With a phone.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iveTOO7uV-E

      2. Jedit
        Trollface

        "Have you been fined or imprisoned for something that wasn’t your fault?"

        Jones the Phones hasn't. It was his fault.

    3. Joe User
      Devil

      Re: Not bad, but...

      But if they send him to prison, then the public has to pay for his upkeep. Better to sentence him to 8 years of in-house arrest plus scrubbing public loo's with a toothbrush for 16 hours every weekend.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Not bad, but...

        A toothbrush?

        No, that should be a perk for good behaviour, and only after the first half of his sentence. Fingernails only until then.

        Yes, I'm afraid I'm very much of the hang-'em-and-flog-'em brigade when it comes to punishment for this sort of thing. Bite me.

        1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Not bad, but...

          Bring back Crucifixion !

          If it was good enough for Jesus, its good enough for these scumbags.

          Heads on sticks, thats what we want to see..

          Directors and officials of companies guilty (or accused, or even suspected) of acting against the public should get to spend some time in a tzompantli (thank you Charles Stross, lets bring it back to common usage )

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: Not bad, but...

            I feel you're all being unnecessarily harsh here.

            Two days is as much as it should be... in a nice little locked room somewhere around the low tide mark.

          2. Felonmarmer

            Re: Not bad, but...

            First offence, probably get away with crucifiction.

            Nail em up, nail some sense into them!

        2. SolidSquid

          Re: Not bad, but...

          Toothbrush is fine for cleaning, as long as it's *his* toothbrush

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Not bad, but...

        "But if they send him to prison, then the public has to pay for his upkeep. "

        Yes but, I believe that one of the problems with corporate shenanigans is that the C-Level executives often get off scot free and the company just has absorb a fine. Even a six month stint of making new friends with blokes that have names like Flat-nose Bill and Crusher could be a good deterrent. At least it would be a heads up before the second time.

        1. VikiAi Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Careful what you wish for!

          Do you really want C-level managers who have friends that have names like Flat-nose Bill and Crusher? (Yes, I know what you meant by 'friends' but I am inclined to believe even scumbags of entirely different feathers will happily flock together, given the opportunity!)

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Careful what you wish for!

            hmmmm, you could be right. Solitary might be too extreme and sticking the white collar criminals in together might just lead to a more dangerous breed of that species.

  2. Graham Cobb

    Director? Who me?

    So what's the betting that he gets the barman of the local pub to be the "company director" for his next venture?

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Director? Who me?

      Or Mrs Jones...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Director? Who me?

        "Or Mrs Jones"

        Then he and whoever fronts for him could both land inside. That's assuming he tells whoever it is that they're fronting for him. If he doesn't then he can end up inside for a bit longer.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Director? Who me?

          "Then he and whoever fronts for him could both land inside."

          Only if someone:

          a: Notices,

          b: Tells the Companies Office

          and most importantly of all

          c: the Companies Office actually does something.

          In my experience in this country fronting is fairly common and fronting prosecutions are relatively rare

  3. jake Silver badge

    Yep.

    It'll be his son, or his daughter, or the Mrs., or son-in-law, or Frat brother, or ... all the crooks do it, BECAUSE THEY CAN. Once one dodgy company gets shut down, they open another with "different" officers (at least on paper). Lather, rinse, repeat. See: Trump.

    1. STOP_FORTH

      Who would volunteer?

      They can now be on the hook for half a mill.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Who would volunteer?

        Half a mil with no prison term on the first offense. So pay 'em 3/4 of a mil. Most people would jump at the chance of a quarter million for doing nothing. I'll bet YOU would!

        Note that I don't condone this. The law, as they say, is an ass.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Who would volunteer?

          The law is not an ass - this is how it was designed to work. In this case you should look to who writes the laws that allow this shit. I would imagine a search of Hansard will reveal it was implemented under a tory government to encourage entrepreneurs in the UK. By entrepreneurs I mean people who contribute to party funds and a lot of their MPs.

        2. STOP_FORTH
          Angel

          Re: Who would volunteer?

          Hi Jake,

          Actually, I don't think I would take a £750,000 paycheck to be associated with a dodgy company. My reputation is more important to me than my bank balance. I guess I'll never be rich, but then again, I'll probably never be tabloid fodder or an old lag either.

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: Who would volunteer?

            Remarkably no one has offered it to me and I can't see it happening anytime soon. So I guess I don't need to face that moral dilemma.

            1. STOP_FORTH
              Happy

              Re: Who would volunteer?

              It's hypothetical for me too, that's why I can pretend to be incorruptible!

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Yep.

      "It'll be his son, or his daughter, or the Mrs., or son-in-law, or Frat brother, or ... all the crooks do it, BECAUSE THEY CAN."

      At which point the penalties become personal. Personal fines or time inside.

    3. ratfox Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Yep.

      According to the article, the new rules mean that the person in charge can now personally be fined up to £500'000...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gosh you folks are being to hard on him I'm sure he has learned his lesson and will never do it again. But just in case lock him in a dark room for 24 hours. then in a brightly lit room for 24 hours. then tell him if ever does it again he will be sent to a for profit prison run by Core Civic formally know Correction Corp of American( they changed thier name do to a bad rep) which is a division of Academiv formal know as Black Water. this is a company run by a christian nutter that wanted a second crusade in the middle east

  5. Stuart Halliday

    Monery fines never work.

    Better to give individuals a real deterrent to think about. Prison sure that's an option. But people come out and often continue the same pattern.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Although the proceedings of crime act might help in the retribution.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Prison sure that's an option. But people come out and often continue the same pattern."

      That can be true for the common street thug, but I'd love to see some stats on white collar upper-crusties that had been earning a healthy six-seven figures and living in a house with servants. Three to six months inside might change some ways. If it doesn't, a much longer stay will at least keep them from ruining more people's lives (or at least annoying them a lot).

      1. VikiAi Silver badge

        Yes. While I am all in favor of throwing every resource available at those who are genuinely capable of reforming, the rest really should just be kept away from society as much as possible for as cheaply as possible.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fines work just, errr, fine. They just need to be the appropriate size to be a deterrent. In this case the fine should be to the individual, of the size matching all his assets. Should be a big enough size. Hiding assets? Then you go after those doing the hiding as well.

  6. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

    Excellent Start

    I like the December rules change. Another step in the right direction.

  7. Jamesit
    Joke

    PPI: pestering people incessantly?

    A really fine business

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Need a new acronym for BT Internet Security

      who phoned me 12 times yesterday to inform me my internet IP needed changing due to it being compromised by several foreign companies.

      In the interest of cleaning up the internet I hit 1 to be connected to and advisor and then get silence for a few seconds and then get disconnected. I've been doing this pretty much daily for about six months and can only assume they are paying significant amounts of money to phone me from India to achieve nothing. I find it frustrating cos I really want to talk to someone live for an hour or so to break my record.

      1. Beerengine

        Re: Need a new acronym for BT Internet Security

        Be careful pressing buttons on one of those calls, some of them re-route through premium lines which is what they are trying to get you to do.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Need a new acronym for BT Internet Security

          "some of them re-route through premium lines "

          Urban legend.

          NONE of them will reroute you to a premium line when you ANSWER the call, and they can't change the number you're calling.

          The worst they can do is attempt to dupe you into calling one.

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Awwwww yisss

    There is some justice somewhere on the planet. This made my week.

  9. Lt.Kije

    Punk

    Yup, find something unpleasant for the punk, but fine clients also, fine them a lot, and watch this type of business evaporate

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Punk

      "Yup, find something unpleasant for the punk, but fine clients also"

      This is EXACTLY why the US anti junkfax/telemarketing laws (Telephone consumer protection act and revision) makes the caller _and the hirer_ jointly and severally liable.

      The result was that "legitimate" (as in promoting genuine local businesses) calls virtually stopped overnight when the law was introduced and the remainder usually turned out to be mom-and-pops who didn't know better and had been scammed into buying services by companies selling spam call services.

  10. 0laf Silver badge
    WTF?

    So he can't start up a company in his own name for 8yr. TBH I doubt that'll stop this sort of guy. Will he not just start another in his wife, mother, sister or brother's name? And what about the money? Is he still getting out of paying?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "TBH I doubt that'll stop this sort of guy."

      10-15 years ago I would have agreed.

      There are enough people keeping tabs on these kinds of wankers that it's a lot harder for them to get away it for very long anymore. The Internet makes it a lot easier for a bunch of pissed-off PPI call recipients to keep in contact and egg each other on(*) vs being isolated and pissed off.

      (*) In terms of gathering stats and passing it to the law, not vigilante justice, nice as the fantasy of finding that one of these PPI bastards has been thoroughly scrubbed with a lemon zester, had rubbing alcohol poured over him and then been smeared in honey and staked out naked over an anthill in a sunny locale might sound.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shoot the messenger

    Why is there no penalty for the telecoms companies carrying these calls. It must be possible to detect the thousands of identical calls coming from one company. Why is number spoofing possible? I'm now told by BT that my blocked call thing is full. All the numbers in it purport to be BT calling to tell me that my internet will be disconnected in 48hrs.

    1. M.V. Lipvig
      Holmes

      Re: Shoot the messenger

      I work for a telecom company, and it is totally possible. If a telecom were required to pay a per-call fine on all spam calls reported but not allowed to pass the cost of the fine on to customers, the calls would stop instantly. If they were fined for calls that don't display the originating number, spoofing would stop instantly.

      ALL calls made have tracking information on them, called a Call Record. This shows stuff like originating number, terminating number, displayed number, call duration, error codes and the like. It doesn't have content information. We techs use these call records to troubleshoot failed calls. If it were made illegal with the telecom company banned from passing the cost to their customers, they would just have to be given a call example, from which they could pull the originating number and block that number from making calls. They can also change an option in the switches to not allow a call to pass with a spoofed number.

      As long as the telecom companies are making money on these calls, and aren't feeling the pain, nothing will change. And I don't mind sharing this information either. The worst they can do is fire me because none of this is proprietary.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Shoot the messenger

        "I work for a telecom company, and it is totally possible"

        Of course it's possible. The unspoken part is that phone companies get paid to TERMINATE calls.

        BT and others only started moving when the scammers started using forged call origination data so that they weren't getting their cut of the action. The fact that they painted it up as "protecting our customers" is pure PR when it was about stopping organisations using their circuits without paying for them and any consideration about the people on the ends of the circuits was entirely secondary.

  12. Aquilus

    Banning him? Oh wow yes that will definitely stop him

    They should put a few thousand from the settlement towards hiring a private investigator to keep tabs on this shithead, to catch him in a few months time when he's acting as a shadow director for the next incarnation of this scam.

  13. DJO Silver badge

    Simple change of law needed

    Limited liability is helpful for people who for whatever reason screw up and go out of business.

    It should not apply to fines applied due to the companies criminal behaviour, in such cases the directors should be personally liable for every stinking penny.

    Shame there are too many vested interests in the Tory party and their donors to ever allow this to happen.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Simple change of law needed

      "Limited liability is helpful for people who for whatever reason screw up and go out of business."

      Limited liability protects SHAREHOLDERS from investment failures.

      It in no way shape or form protects directors from the consequences of illegal decisions. The choice to not prosecute lies firmly at the feet of UK regulators.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sad but true.

      I'd be very surprised if that doesn't apply to all parties with a chance of being elected.

      Not because of any partisan feeling on my part, just simple observation that big money can easily sidestep any and all democratic control by simply pumping suitable inducements to BOTH parties and the appropriate members thereof.

      Sad, but true.

  14. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Terminator

    Tommy Robinson warns about the Islamification of the UK, but perhaps some Sharia punishments are just what this country needs. About time we issued a few fatal beatings. Don't get many repeat offenders.

    I'm not actually serious. Hopefully the change in the law last year will hit some of these ex-company directors hard though.

  15. Anne Hunny Mouse

    His punishment should be to have a phone spam service set just to plague his numbers...

  16. madhatstand
    Terminator

    I thought Robocop had already taken care of Dick Jones?

  17. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    What stops him from going to another country and set up a new spam shop there, "servicing" (aka harassing) other countries?

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