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Founder of far-right Voice of Wales gets suspended jail sentence for huge insurance scam

27 Oct 2023 11 minute read
Dan Morgan. Photo by callum.darragh is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Martin Shipton

A prominent far-right activist who set up a group called Voice of Wales and campaigned against “illegal” migrants has been handed a suspended prison sentence for his involvement in a fraud that robbed hundreds of ordinary people of their savings.

Daniel Raymond Morgan set up the group in Swansea with another activist called Stan Robinson. Their YouTube channel was banned permanently in 2021 for its racist content.

Morgan stood as a UKIP candidate for the Senedd in 2021 and, following the row over a now discontinued Home Office plan to house asylum seekers in Llanelli’s Stradey Park Hotel, has been touted as the party’s general election in the town’s constituency.

But his political future is now in doubt following a conviction for his role in a despicable insurance scam that tricked many into parting with their money.

Swansea Crown Court heard how a call centre was set up to con people on the back of the PPI scandal. It was responsible for an astonishing 53 million scam phone messages.

The fraudsters promised big payouts in connection with mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance policies but in reality their aim was simply to get victims’ credit card details and steal money from them.

Tricked

Hundreds of people paid up to £550 each after being tricked by the call centre staff into believing they were due substantial PPI refunds, with many of the victims of the scam being elderly and vulnerable. Sentencing 16 people involved in the fraud – from directors of the firm to those working the phones – a judge described the aim of the business as “deliberate, planned fraud”.

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, told the court that the company at the centre of the fraud went by various names including HES Synergy Limited and HES Savings Audit Ltd, and was set up with the aim of taking unlawful advantage of the financial scandal around mis-sold PPI. He said the fraud was “specifically and carefully planned” to give victims the false impression that they were entitled to a significant PPI refund and to get them to pay a fee to process their claims.

The court heard the victims of the scam were led to believe the business had specific knowledge regarding their individual finances and had access to information about their payment of PPI as well as knowledge of how much they were entitled to by way of a refund. In reality those behind the fraud had no such information or knowledge.

The prosecutor said the scam began with the firm sending out millions of deliberately misleading recorded messages – known as “voice broadcasts” – designed to “hook” potential victims.

The message said: “Our records indicate that you haven’t yet claimed back your PPI on certain loans and credit cards. You are owed thousands. To claim this back press 5 to speak to an advisor and 9 to opt out”. Over a three month period the message was broadcast an astonishing 53,191,988 times.

The court heard that though the message was a short one, it contained three important false statements and was nothing more than a “fishing” exercise. In reality the business did not have “records” about each consumer; it had no way of knowing whether the consumer had ever taken out PPI; and the positive statement that the victim was “owed thousands” was false.

Lead generator

The prosecutor said if a consumer responded to the initial voice broadcast message by pressing option “5” the call would be answered by a “lead generator” in the Swansea call centre who would usually answer the phone by saying “You’re through to the refund department”. Mr Reynolds said from this point “call centre staff would act together and fraudulently to facilitate the taking of financial information from customers with the aim being to convince the victim to part with the upfront fee”.

The court heard that, following scripts of what to say, the lead generators would harvest basic information from the callers such as name, address, date of birth, email, general information on past financial agreements, the name of the bank they used, and details of active credit cards. Misleading phrases such as “our solicitors” and “you’re on the database” would often be used to build confidence, and specific amounts of refunds the callers were supposedly entitled to were mentioned.

The lead generators would then pass the victims’ details to a “closer” who would call them back and introduce themselves variously as a “senior adviser”, or someone “from the legal team”, or “from the verification team”. The closer would tell the victims that they were going to run a financial report to verify the PPI agreements and to look for any agreements they might have forgotten about before a decision was made as to whether there was a valid claim.

The court heard call centre staff would then create secret email accounts for their victims and, using the information gleaned from earlier calls, access people’s private credit reports from companies such as Noddle, Clearscore and Experian. Any additional information needed by the fraudsters to access the credit reports would be requested from the victims under the guise of data protection requirements or security checks.

Credit reports

The court heard that the information in the credit reports told call centre staff nothing about any PPI payments or potential refunds but it could be used to further hoodwink consumers into thinking the company was genuine and had access to some kind of PPI database. Once the credit report had been secretly obtained the next step for the scammers was for a closer to ring the victim back again, provide them with details of the agreements on the credit report, and tell them there was a “green light” from the “legal team” and they had a strong claim. Again, all this was a lie.

The prosecutor said it was at this stage that the call centre staff introduced the concept of an “upfront fee” – this was normally £550 – which was presented to the victim as a “holding deposit” to be put on their credit card while the claim was being processed and was often referred to as being refundable. The closer then pressed the consumer to access their email account while on the phone so that documents with the terms and conditions could be sent to them to sign immediately.

Some consumers who didn’t have internet access or were unfamiliar with the online “e-sign” process were often asked if they could go to the local library to access their emails or get their son or daughter to help them. If victims had no email account the company arranged for a courier service to visit them to deliver the documents. The court heard the purpose of obtaining a quick signature was so that the company could take the upfront fee as soon as possible. However the evidence suggested that in many cases the fees were simply taken before signatures were collected or without any signature being obtained.

Mr Reynolds said victims would typically receive around five phone calls from the Swansea call centre on the same day, usually within the space of a few hours and with each successive phone call being “cleverly designed to build the victims’ trust and reinforce the impression that the victim had a valid PPI claim”. Having given their credit card details the victim would often get a final call just to confirm that their payment had gone through, and to say their claim was now commencing.

Regulated

The court heard that to allay any concerns about the company the victims were frequently told the company was “regulated”, “fully regulated” or “government regulated”, and they were directed to the Companies House website to show the firm was registered on a “government website”. If a victim chose to look at the Synergy website they would find fake customer testimonials, such as the one purporting to be from a “Mr Jones in Devon” which read “Synergy Express Audits were fast and reliable … and also passed my information onto their affiliate company to handle my PPI and package bank account fee. This was mis-sold to me and I got my refund in less than 12 weeks”. The court heard no evidence of a Mr Jones from Devon having got a refund was ever found in the company records.

It was complaints from legitimate PPI reclaim companies about the conduct of HES Synergy that led the Ministry of Justice to launch an investigation into its operations in September 2015. The extent and sophistication of the fraud was revealed after search warrants were executed at the company’s offices on Swansea Enterprise Park in the following January.

The court heard that by the time of the raids the business had already stopped trading but this was not due to an attack of conscience or morals on the part of the scammers but was simply because so many unhappy consumers had used the chargeback procedure on their credit cards to try to get their payments back that the firm was struggling to get payment providers willing to work with them.

Trading standards officers recovered hundreds of thousands of recorded phone calls between staff and victims and potential victims, as well as the call centre scripts with the misleading and false statements which staff had been using.

The prosecutor said while the fraud was orchestrated from those at the top of the business, anyone involved in the PPI calls for any length of time would have realised that lying was “rampant, essential, and expected” and in the call centre “lying to customers was the norm”.

Reporting restrictions

Six defendants, including Morgan, were convicted at trial in January this year but the trial could not be reported at that time due to reporting restrictions ahead of a second trial of their co-accused. All the remaining defendants subsequently pleaded guilty.

Judge Huw Rees said the call centre operation had been a “deliberate, planned fraud carefully structured and fraudulent from its inception” and at the heart of the conspiracy lay the defendants’ greed which “overrode any compassion or concern” for the victims. He told the defendants they had routinely misled people about the prospect of PPI refunds and peddled “blatant lies” on the phones, noting the lies “tripped easily off the tongue” for them. He said not only had the fraud affected individual victims who had been left with a feeling of “violation” but had affected the wider public’s respect and confidence in the industry.

Nine admitted conspiracy to commit fraud, six – including Morgan – were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud following a trial and one admitted money laundering.

Morgan, 38, of Lamberts Road, SA1 development, Swansea, was part of the “Noddle team” fraudulently accessing people’s credit reports. He was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 12 months with a rehabilitation course and a mental health treatment requirement.

Tom Scapens, for Morgan, said the defendant was a father to four children and, given his lack of convictions before or after his involvement in the call centre, the court “might think he is not a man in need of rehabilitation”.

Racist content

Morgan has been a prominent far right activist in Wales for several years. In 2021 YouTube removed two channels jointly run by him and fellow far-right activist Stan Robinson because of their racist content. Welsh politicians and race equality groups condemned the Voice of Wales channel for airing interviews with The Proud Boys, an American far-right group that has been outlawed in Canada, and controversial figures such as former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

The YouTube account was terminated for breaching the platform’s terms of service. A second YouTube account, also set up by the men, was also removed.

Morgan usually styles himself “Dan Morgan” and did so when he stood in Swansea East at the Senedd election in 2021, coming fifth with 567 votes (3%). But in the South Wales West regional list section of the ballot, his full name – Daniel Raymond Morgan – appeared as Ukip’s number two candidate. Ukip came sixth with 2809 votes (2%).

We asked UKIP whether it would be taking any action against Morgan following his conviction, but received no response.


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Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

Far right, scam, “voice of Wales”? He never spoke for me.

Marc
Marc
6 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

In no time Insurance Scammer Dan Morgan could be appointed a Magistrate. All the other conmen, crooks, pimps not forgetting drug pedlars hanging about near the United Kingdom Independents Party ukip can apply to become Magistrates following convicted rogue builder Ben Walker who is their Chairman. I hope Nation Cymru is keeping track of the convicted Jordan Parry, Ethan Smith, Councillor (ex) Paul Dowson……………

Sally-Anne
Sally-Anne
6 months ago

One of the more intriguing elements of this story, I think, is the fact that this racist scumbag didn’t target his crime. He was indiscriminate….and because he was indiscriminate in his action the greater proportion of his victims were white. Proving a) that the great “coloured horde” that is swamping the UK that these dweebs bang on about isn’t a thing and that b) for most of the Far-right, race ceases to matter when the colour of money is to be seen. …

Last edited 6 months ago by Sally-Anne
Erisian
Erisian
6 months ago

Does a phone scam count as a white collar crime then? LOCK HIM UP!

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Far right white folks seem to get away with it more often than not

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
6 months ago

Why am I not surprised?

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago

Ship him to Uganda or wherever Suella wants to send people this week.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

I find with most if not all far-right loons like Dan Moron. Oh sorry, slip of the tongue, I mean Morgan. Are usually ex-football hooligans that either go into politics because their hobby of violence is curtailed so chose an alternative outlet to vent their frustrations due to their own personal failure in life, And like most extremists join the likes of racist & bigoted English imperialist parties such as BNP, Ukip, Brexit or Conservatives so they have an air of respectability. They attack the European Union, Welsh & Scottish devolution, immigrants studying at our universities and those doctors &… Read more »

Wayne M
Wayne M
6 months ago

The self appointed ‘Voice of Wales’ exposed as just another far right grifter. Not my voice.

Gary Robert Jones
Gary Robert Jones
6 months ago

Lately more anti Semitic content has been added

IMG_0419.jpeg
Riki
Riki
6 months ago

A wise man once said – If they are black, they are called a gang, if they are Italian, they are a called a mob, if they are Jewish, it’s just a coincidence.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago

Whilst I abhor antisemitism, and indeed this repugnant group, the state of Israel is NOT synonymous with Judaism. Criticism of the Knesset is NOT antisemitism. Otherwise all those Jewish people who protested last weekend against the murderous actions of Netanyahu’s government upon the whole of Palestinians in Gaza would be de-facto Anti-Semites. And claiming that would be absurd.
Oppose this creep by all means, especially when he posts actual antisemitism. But criticising the Israeli state is no more antisemitic, than criticising the English government is antichristian

Last edited 6 months ago by Sarah Good
Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Nuance and precision of language are all important when it comes to these things. It might seem like ‘splitting hairs’ but the differences are so important in terms of getting across a precise message.

We’ve seen what happens when one thing becomes conflated with something quite different within the Labour Party, where the conflation was deliberately weaponised to the detriment of a political figure who, though contraversial for some things, is a darned sight more principled than the current leader.

Last edited 6 months ago by Padi Phillips
blc
blc
6 months ago

Some context, for those who have not had the misfortune to learn far more about conspiracy whackos than they ever wanted to… The hashtag “#WWG1WGA” stands for “where we go one we go all”. It is a common “rallying cry” used by supporters/believers of QAnon. You will also frequently see “#SaveTheChildren” or “#SaveOurChildren” used by those very same people. Dog whistles work both ways: they can be a rallying cry for those within the group, and also a large red warning sign for those outside the group who know what it means. So if you see tweets, post, comments, etc… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago

To be fair,and pedantic, that post is more anti-Zionist than anything else, but I have few doubts that the intentions behind it are anti-semitic.

Last edited 6 months ago by Padi Phillips
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
6 months ago

‘Voice of Wales’ & UKIP in the same sentence. If UKIP had its’ way, there would be no Wales. ‘Voice of’ what would it be then?

Riki
Riki
6 months ago

Voice of Wales is such an oxymoron. I don’t understand why people can’t understand that the UK’s ultimate mandate is to absorb Wales into A greater England. And if Wales doesn’t achieve independence before Scotland does, Wales will cease to exist as a Country. Then all “British” history can be passed of as having Anglo Saxon origin. They already do it with the English language, their monarchs incorrectly being called British pre-1650s, and the two King Arthur’s.

Annibendod
Annibendod
6 months ago

The Far Right mired in criminality? Well there’s a shock (not). Fascists are violent con artists, the Far Right are dangerous con artists. The Tories are sleazy con artists. Anyone else seeing the pattern here?

Keith Parry
Keith Parry
6 months ago

Why is he not locked up for many years? Internet fraud is a major problem.

crofennog crofftwr
crofennog crofftwr
6 months ago

‘Voice of Wales’ is the same as ‘UKIP Wales’.

The reason that this smalltime crook isn’t behind bars is the same reason that the grifter and rogue who runs UKIP also isn’t.

Just as well that the injustice was meted out in Crown Court. Had it been dealt with at the Magistrates instead, guess who might have been sitting on the bench!!

Owen Banks
Owen Banks
6 months ago

A reminder that every Conservative and Right Winger is just a grifting parasite.

Another Wigan Wanderer
6 months ago

Yet another UKIP crook uncovered, no surprise there, barely newsworthy.

UKIP’s run by crooks, for crooks, with a few thickos thrown in for cover and entertainment.

So when does Dan Moron get to become a JP? Link provided.

Battleship Pojenkins
Battleship Pojenkins
6 months ago

Fake in-voice of Wales. Anyone surprised by these swindlers? Echoes of Brexit all over the shop, look after number 1 whilst preaching moral high ground. Professional s**tstirrers, nothing but.

Shakable Tootsie
6 months ago

Didn’t these offences take place long ago, before Mr Morgan fell under the influence of grifters, like the pocket-lining “crusty wiener” who runs the shambles they’ve made of Nigel’s UK Independence Party.? I don’t speak of the all-but-senile, cash-for-questions former MP, but to the insolent yokel Bodger Builder “J.P.”. . . Why expect any half-respectable political outfit to even talk to these pocket-liners or their mentally ill, mentally-challenged plastic s*****r?

Shakable Tootsie
6 months ago

“*lappe*” — I did not asterisk it out. “*camme*” also fits, and Miss Ey Up sure is that too, must be expensive all those visits to the chippy, with seconds of Kayli or Spanish. Brought in from Wham Bottom Lane, or was it Bottoms Fold, by Convicted Dan’s colleague, the rogue builder, to the ghouls party, all to service two needs. The less obvious being smearing the real party of the Centre Right. The group begs an unauthorised biography and I know just the lady to pen it. Why should it be only Nana who profits, with all the free… Read more »

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