A BUSINESSMAN accused of defrauding hundreds of people – many from Huddersfield – in a council tax refund scheme has appeared in court.
Jack Darrell Henry, 46, who ran Huddersfield-based firms Reband (UK) Ltd and Council Tax Review (CTR) appeared at York Magistrates’ Court yesterday to face charges of money-laundering, conspiracy to defraud and blackmail.
Three others also appeared to face similar charges.
A court legal advisor told the defendants: “The charges you face include conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and for Jack Henry together with another, they include conspiracy to blackmail.
“These are matters that can only be dealt with at the Crown Court for a hearing in two weeks time.”
Henry, of Lodge Lane, Norristhorpe, Liversedge , spoke only to confirm his name and address.
He is also charged with contravening a court order disqualifying him from acting as a company director.
Prosecutor Matt Boxall, for West Yorkshire Trading Standards , briefly outlined the case to the bench saying the charges relate to ‘a council tax scam’.
He said: “One of the businesses operated by the defendants charged a £140-£175 fee for an application for a council tax rebate.
“For these victims this never materialised and some were not given refunds.”
Henry’s partner Shahla Marie Rezai, 28, of the same Liversedge address, faces charges of conspiracy to defraud and money-laundering.
Also appearing in court was saleswoman Wendy Ann Smith, 38, of Illingworth Road, Illingworth, Halifax. She faces the conspiracy charge and money-laundering.
The fourth person charged is Asif Iqbal, 42, of Hall Bower, Newsome , who is also charged with conspiracy to defraud and money-laundering.
He is understood to be a director of council tax claims firm Smart Band Ltd, of Bay Hall, Miln Road, Birkby.
John Charles Boon, 57, of Park Spring Rise, Leeds, who did not appear yesterday, also faces three charges. They are conspiracy to defraud, demanding money with menaces and money-laundering.
He was believed to be company secretary of one of Henry’s firms.
The Examiner understands all charges were brought after a large-scale inquiry – dubbed Operation Belle – by a specialist investigation arm of Trading Standards.
The case will next be heard at York Crown Court on July 12.