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Terence Shepherd, Britain's biggest ticket fraudster, jailed for 8 years

On Monday 11th July 2011, Terence Shepherd and two other defendants were sentenced after a seven week trial at Southwark Crown Court, London, in connection with the £5million Beijing Olympics 2008 online ticketing fraud. Through the Xclusive companies, it is believed they defrauded over 5000 people worldwide, including the families of Olympic athletes. The victims had paid up to 48 times the face value for tickets to the Games.

The ‘massively cynical’ Olympic ticket scam had been uncovered by Sydney cyber crime expert Ken Gamble who exposed Shepherd and his cronies. Mr. Gamble compiled a dossier showing the Olympic site and other fake websites had been registered to XL&H, a company based in a non-existent office in Phoenix, Arizona, that was controlled by Shepherd.

The offences included fraudulent trading, money laundering and acting as a company director when disqualified. Terence Shepherd was jailed for 8 years, Alan Scott for 7 and their accountant Allan Schaverien for 2 years 8 months for aiding and abetting. Shepherd and Scott were banned from being company directors for 15 and 10 years respectively.

Judge Beddoe described the fraud as a massive, cynical and utterly dishonest confidence trick which was motivated by greed and that Shepherd and Scott were wholly unfit to be in control of any company. The next hearing will be on 14 November 2011 to start confiscation proceedings.

Over a period of 10 years, a string of Shepherd’s firms had gone bust, owing some £15 million.

When the scam hit the world media in early August 2008, authorities from around the world said that catching the perpetrators of this gold medal scam would be near impossible due to the use of a fake company with a non-existent office in the USA. After reading the newspaper in a café in Amsterdam on 5th August 2008, Internet fraud expert and private investigator Ken Gamble knew it was time to get out his extensive dossier that he had built on Terence Shepherd over the preceding months. He passed the dossier to the Sydney Morning Herald on 6th August 2008 and the story made front-page headlines in the Sydney Morning Herald.

In 2007 whilst investigating a major ticketing fraud ring in the UK, Mr Gamble had become aware of some 150 illegal websites owned by Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality, an unregistered fake entity operating from a non-existent office in Phoenix, Arizona. After further investigations Mr Gamble went on to identify Terence Shepherd as the mastermind behind the fake company and as the person profiting from the websites selling the non-existent tickets. Mr Gamble had tracked Shepherd for some time, traced his whereabouts at the time in Barbados, and prepared a large dossier which he gave to various authorities warning them in advance of the huge Beijing Olympics scam which later unfolded in the world media. An informant told Mr Gamble that Shepherd viewed the Beijing Olympics as one last massive sting before retiring.

Mr Gamble also tracked down Shepherd’s former Sydney-based front man at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in Paris in order to serve him with a court summons after a previous World Cup scam.

With the London Olympics fast approaching and the rapidly increasing rate of internet fraud, the extent of the Beijing Olympics scam - one of the largest UK online frauds ever - is a timely warning of the lengths to which these criminals will go, and the ever-increasing need to be vigilant.

11th July 2011

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