Derby

Wyvern Media scam: Fraudster ordered to repay £1.2m to victims

Jonathan Rivers Image copyright Nottinghamshire County Council
Image caption Jonathan Rivers was described as the "head, heart and soul" of the company

A man who was jailed for running a cold-call scam in which hundreds of customers were defrauded has been ordered to repay £1.2m to his victims.

Jonathan Rivers was head of Derby-based Wyvern Media group, which pressured firms into buying worthless adverts.

He was jailed for six years in October after admitting fraudulent trading following more than 500 complaints.

At the proceeds of crime hearing, he was given three months to pay or face a further sentence of up to 10 years.

Image caption Wyvern Media's offices were raided by trading standards officers in 2012

When he was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court, Rivers, 55, formerly of Coleshill, Warwickshire, was described by the judge as the "head, heart and soul" of the company, which had about 18,000 customers a year and an estimated annual turnover of £7m.

Trading standards officers found small firms were targeted by Wyvern with high-pressure sales techniques and multiple calls.

Once paid for, the adverts would only appear in low circulation publications put out by the company itself.

Businesses were sometimes also billed for unsolicited extra adverts.

Along with Rivers, four other Wyvern employees were jailed for their part in the scam, with another five handed suspended sentences.

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