Bonnie & Clyde are back again!

As if we didn’t have enough to contend with, it appears that our old “friends” Clare Hunnisett and Malcolm John (AKA Stuart John etc.) are back to their familiar tricks – scamming printers and members of the public out of their hard-earned money.

ICSM members and regular readers of this missive will already be familiar with our very own Bonnie & Clyde. You know who they are and how the scam works. Well… hopefully you do?

The victims include small self-publishers in the UK as well as UK and European printing houses who supply clients with completed orders. Orders are taken, promises are made, deposits received… but the only people who seem to get anything out of the deal are Hunnisett and John.

Many thousands of pounds have been lost, causing extreme pain to all, and even the financial demise of some of the victims.

How the sting works

The fraud is committed by a middleman who advertises services online, takes large deposits off clients and then farms the work out to UK and European printers.

However, the printers are rarely paid for the work that they are instructed to complete.  Furthermore, many UK clients do not receive their orders, nor do they receive a refund of their deposit.  Both client and supplier become victims of the fraud.

The latest trading name to be used by the pair appears to be “Hardback Printer” (Central) of Hammersmith and “Hardback Printer” (Regional) of Glasgow which has a familiar-looking website and apparently similar Modus Operandi.

The damage these kinds of people cause is outrageous and far more commonplace than many realize. They play on people’s goodwill and trust.

Unfortunately, neither the Police, Action Fraud or the CPS are prepared to invest time money or effort in pursuing these scamsters. Not for the want of trying by their victims.

The law appears not to be interested in their crimes. The only protection against these and their ilk is to know your customer before you commit to do work for them or part with any kind of deposits. We can help you with that by providing up-to-date credit checks that go well beyond the usual data supplied by credit referencing companies.

If you are an ICSM member use your membership. If your membership has lapsed, renew it. We have special discounts available for returning and new members.

ICSM are specialist providers of referencing and credit data for the printing industry. We help protect your sector from these types. If you know a rogue tell us. Help stop them in their tracks just by being aware who you are dealing with. It’s good business practice, it makes sense, and it hardly costs anything. The alternative can be - and has been - fatal.

Interestingly it seems that…

...Old Rogues never die; they don’t even fade away; they just move on to pastures new. We’ve recently re-discovered a particularly nasty specimen who plied his trade throughout the print industry in the 90s. He’s re-appeared in a new sector and it appears, even more lucrative environment.

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