[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 17:44 GMT
Gervais account fraudsters jailed
Ricky Gervais
Money was stolen from Mr Gervais' bank account
Two identity thieves have been jailed after being found guilty of stealing 200,000 from comic Ricky Gervais.

The fraudsters, who also stole from a doctor, used a bank insider to transfer Gervais' money into another account.

Kenneth Speight, 39, of no fixed abode, was jailed for two-and-a-half years and Craig Reeves, 30, of Alton, Hants, for two years for conspiracy to defraud.

The court heard they stole Gervais' identity by pasting his picture from his DVD onto a dead man's passport.

Gold bullion

London's Wood Green Crown Court heard the cash was to be used to buy 27kg of gold.

But someone posing as the comic failed to convince a bullion dealer who raised the alarm, the court heard.

The TV star was contacted and shown a copy of a fax authorising the transfer of 195,480 from his bank to bullion dealers Baird and Co in Stratford, east London.

Defendants cleared

A few days later two couriers turned up to collect the gold but were greeted by police officers.

Nat West assistant manager Sharonjeet Snober, 28, of Southampton, was cleared of any wrongdoing after saying her password at work must have been used to feed confidential details to the fraudsters.

Courier Harry Peach, 57, of Leatherhead, Surrey, was also cleared, after he told the court he was simply doing his job when he went to pick up the gold.

A fifth defendant, courier company boss Mushtaq Javed, 43, of Crawley, West Sussex, faces a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict on two conspiracy counts.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the fake passport the thieves made



SEE ALSO:
Gervais fraud trial is adjourned
28 Feb 05 |  Entertainment


RELATED BBC LINKS:


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific