Shropshire Star

Revealed: Face of jailed fraudster who tried to pull off £1.9 million con

This is the face of a fraudster who has been jailed for five years after trying to con investment banks out of nearly £2 million.

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Christopher Peach. Picture: West Mercia Police

Police have today released a picture of Christopher Peach, formerly of the Black Lion Hotel in Scotland Street, Ellesmere, who was sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty of 18 counts of fraud by false representation and one count of money laundering.

The 51-year-old used deed poll to change his name to Christopher Hill in a bid to avoid his 10-year bankruptcy order being detected by banks.

He also submitted cheques for large amounts of money which he did not have. Before the investment firms had the chance to clear the cheques, he would take cash out of their accounts. Peach, now of Red Hill Lane, Wrexham, ultimately managed to get his hands on more than £240,000 through his scheme.

Detective Constable James Lees, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “Peach is a prolific fraudster who committed a £1.9 million cheque fraud from businesses between October 2016 and November 2019. He showed no regard for the significant loss and impact he has had caused to his victims. We hope this case demonstrates to that those who commit fraud will be brought to justice."

The investigation began in 2018 following suspicions that Peach had fraudulently submitted high value cheques to multiple companies including stockbrokers, investment and money transfer firms from either closed accounts, or accounts with insufficient funds.

A West Mercia Police spokesperson said: "Peach would lie about the source of his funds as he claimed a ‘refund’ or carried out further transactions prior to the cheque being rejected.

"The money he frequently made was used to buy the hotel he managed in Shrewsbury, but the sale did not complete after the cheque he made to the solicitors bounced.

"Peach also lied about bankruptcy by changing his name, allowing a loophole with due diligent checks as he would continue to commit offences."

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud or knows of someone who has can report it via the West Mercia police website reporting fraud, bribery or corruption.