Lancashire energy company owner found guilty of multiple fraud charges

Andy Pilley

BES Utilities owner Andy Pilley has been found guilty of fraud as a seven month long trial concluded on Friday (19 May 2023) at Preston Crown Court.

A jury unanimously found Pilley guilty of two counts of running a business with the intention of defrauding creditors, one count of false representation and one count of being concerned with the retention of criminal property.

Pilley has since been remanded in custody to await sentencing.

Pilley had been charged with fraud in September 2021, following a five-year investigation by Trading Standards into BES Utilities. 

In 2015 the business was fined by Ofgem after it admitted that it breached gas and electricity supply licences and had to compensate affected customers. 

Back in October the jury were told that Pilley’s sales teams “routinely used false statements, misleading information and outright lies” to secure customers.

Prosecutor Andrew Thomas KC said: “The case is about fraudulent mis-selling of energy contracts by and on behalf of businesses based in Fleetwood and Blackpool.

“The victims were small business owners from all around the country, such as small shops, pubs, cafes and hairdressers.

“The charges relate to offences from the period 2014-2016, but the roots go back further.

“The prosecution case is that fraudulent sales tactics were rife within the telesales team.

“The telesales team pretended to be independent of the suppliers.

“The reality, the prosecution say, is that they were working for the owners of a specific energy supply group called Business Energy Solutions (known as ‘BES’).”

The prosecution case against Pilley and three other defendants was brought by Trading Standards North West.

The guilty verdict could have dramatic implications for League One Fleetwood Town, who now have an owner that would not pass the English Football League’s ‘fit and proper persons’ test. 

In a statement the club said: “Fleetwood Town Football Club acknowledges the verdict in the court case involving club Chairman, Andy Pilley.

“The Chairman would like to reassure supporters the club will continue to operate as normal. Today’s verdicts will not affect the running or future of Fleetwood Town Football Club.

“The club is already in talks with the EFL regarding the next steps and will be making no further comment at this time.”


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