Mother and son admit fraud against clients

Mother and son Mechelle and Ian Chatfield will learn their fate in three weeks' time.
Mother and son Mechelle and Ian Chatfield will learn their fate in three weeks' time.

A mother and son from Nunburnholme have admitted committing banking fraud against their customers while running a pet shop supply business.

Ian Chatfield, 28 and Mechelle Chatfield, 47, admitted a single charge of participating in false business by a sole trader over a two-year period which saw customers double charged for the same item on their bank statements.

The pair had initially faced five charges of fraud by false representation against five named customers and a sixth charge of participating in false business between January 2010 and 1 April 2012.

On the eve of a scheduled trial at Hull Crown Court on Monday the pair pleaded guilty to the single charge of participating in false business over 28 months. The other five charges will not be tried after they pleaded not 
guilty.

Crown barrister David Dixon told an earlier hearing the business fraud centered on false transactions at the business at Routh, near Beverley.

He said an example was the business would sell a dog basket for £40 charging the customer’s credit card £40. The fraud part was charging the customer again a month later taking a further £40 - hoping the customer would not spot it. They sought payment which the customer had not authorized.

However, the defence insisted there were software problems in the computer system making the errors and when spotted the customers were re-reimbursed.

The case was complicated by 30,000 pages of documents on 57 computer discs - which meant a possible two week trial costing tax payers around £140,000.

The pair, both of Cleaving Grange, will be sentenced at Hull Crown Court in three weeks’ time pending the preparation of reports.