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Friday, 23 June, 2000, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Jail terms after 1.5m fraud

A man from Londonderry and an Italian businessman have been jailed for five years for conspiring to defraud an Irish drinks company of nearly 1.5m.

They were sentenced on Friday along with three others from the Derry area who earlier pleaded guilty to being involved in the fraud.

Luigi Marotta from Chelsea in London was convicted of trying to defraud the Ulster Bank using stolen blank cheques from the St Brendans Cream Liqueur company three years ago.

Marotta ran his own computer company and had cheques made out to bogus payees.

Sean Francis from Bishop street in Derry was also convicted of conspiring to defraud the drinks company.

Three others had earlier pleaded guilty to offences related to the fraud.

Francis Taggart from Glendermott Road Derry was jailed for three years.

Bernadette Ferguson from Chamberlain Street in the city was given an 18 month suspended sentence and John McCloskey of Pinewood Crescent in Claudy was placed on probation.

This was the third time the case had come to trial.

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