Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Fake college boss guilty of fraud

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It was the region's biggest-ever fraud trial.

The main defendant in a trial over a 16m fraud which saw 80,000 college students scammed has been found guilty.

Michael Smallman, 45, of Northallerton, was convicted of fraudulent trading while his wife Angela was convicted of money laundering.

Smallman ran the National Distance Learning College (NDLC) in Middlesbrough which collapsed in 2001.

The college's directors, Peter Kenyon, 43, and John Hornsby, 59, were cleared of fraud after a four-month trial.

Diverting funds

The college falsely claimed its courses were accredited by professional bodies such as City and Guilds, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Only 18 students gained a recognised qualification from the college, which ran computer and business-related courses, during the three years it was operating.

Smallman, of Leeming Lane, was the founder, while Mr Kenyon, of Roseberry Road, Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, and Mr Hornsby, of East Close, Sadberge, Darlington, were directors.

They had denied accusations that they defrauded students by diverting funds and pretending the courses would lead to recognised qualifications.



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