This crime prevention order will come into force on Snelling's release from prison and essentially mean that his life will be under surveillance: having to disclose emails, his financial affairs, buying internet domains, etc. to the police. This should make it difficult for Daniel Snelling to reoffend at least for the first five years after his release from prison. It is likely to have more affect than his ban as a director as shadow directors are commonly used and there is nothing to stop a banned director running a partnership as this does not contravene the ban as Stephen Cleeve demonstrated by flogging worthless plots of agricultural land through European Land Sales.
In his remarks His Honour Judge Grieve QC rejected Dorian Lovell-Pank's plea on behalf of Snelling that the clients of Nouveau and Finbow were sophisticated investors. Grieve said that many of them were 'elderly and vulnerable'. He did accept that Nouveau World Wines Ltd was originally a legitimate company but soon became fraudulent. Given Daniel Snelling's track record, including working for Wine Orb in Australia as well as for Andrew Dunne at Countrywide, I find this an unlikely proposition, although it may well have become increasingly fraudulent as time went on.
Judge Grieve said that Snelling had used the proceeds to fund an extravagant life-style – expensive rented flats in Docklands, prestige cars including an Aston Martin, frequent travel and even more frequent wads of cash. He also said that Daniel Snelling was largely responsible for the predicament that Dina Snelling and Rebecca McDonald now find themselves in.
In sentencing Rebecca McDonald Judge Grieve cited her role as book keeper at Finbow, which included providing a false audit trail. He accepted that she probably wasn't knowingly involved from the start of Finbow – "an out and out fraud" – and that her involvement may have only have lasted a couple of months. He accepted that she was previously of "impeccable character" and that apart from her salary she did not benefit materially from the fraud. He also accepted that the chance of her reoffending was "very remote".
There was considerable surprise and shock amongst Rebecca McDonald's 20 or more supporters when her sentence was announced. I had thought that she might get a suspended sentence but it may be that the minimum sentence that can be given for conspiracy to defraud makes this impossible.
It is difficult to see that McDonald's sentence is proportional in the light of the 7.5 years given to Daniel Snelling, however, McDonald's sentence does send out a message that if you suspect you are involved in a fraud get out quickly and report your suspicions through Action Fraud, for example.
In the light of McDonald's three years on one count of conspiracy to defraud, it looks likely that Dina Snelling could be facing five years or more when she is sentenced on 11th October on two counts of conspiracy.
I have to wonder why Daniel Snelling thought it was a good idea to plead not guilty and go through all the long trial, when an early guilty plea would have meant a reduced sentence.