City Company Raided over Advertising 'Scam' Regional: Computers and Files: Seized in Office Raid

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bartlett

A LIVERPOOL publishing firm was last night at the centre of a fraud investigation surrounding alleged false selling of advertising space. Trading standards officers raided the offices of Weinstein Williams, which produces booklets and planners, in Dale Street, taking away computers and files. A private property in Tarbock Green, believed to belong to the owner of the company, was also searched. It is believed to be the first investigation of its type by the newly-created Scambusters unit, which is based in Liverpool and represents 22 local authorities across the North West. Merseyside Police Economic Crime unit is also involved in the investigation. The raid followed a number of complaints from across the country that businesses had handed over money to Weinstein Williams, but were never shown any evidence an advert had appeared or the publication existed. The company cold-called organisations across the UK offering them advertising space within the publications. Many complaints also focused around the way businesses had been pressured into paying for adverts they had never agreed to. Council officials said the evidence collected on the raids will be evaluated to establish whether there is enough evidence to bring the case to court under charges relating to the Fraud Act. Or the company could face civil action where Scambusters could request an order stopping it from falsely selling advertising. Last night, the Daily Post contacted Weinstein Williams to request a comment from George Williams, but our call was not returned. Liverpool's environment leader, Cllr Berni Turner, said: "Although Weinstein Williams are based in Liverpool, they operated across the country and tended to contact potential advertisers outside of the city - making it impossible for a single trading standards team to take any action against them. …