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Pay up or remain in jail, fraudster told

DISGRACED COLLEGE fraudster Stuart Spacey has been ordered to return estimated proceeds of nearly half a million pounds or face a further four years in jail.

Spacey, 70, who is already serving 18 months after siphoning cash from Barnsley College through bogus training enterprises, now faces a demand for Pounds 470,000. He has three months to find the money after the order was imposed by a judge in Sheffield last week.

He was sent to prison in February after admitting his part in the Pounds 900,000 fraud. At the time, the judge in the case, at Sheffield Crown Court, said Spacey had been a secondary figure but was left to "face the music alone".

The college had set up a com-pany, Progress Training Ltd, which paid for courses provided by other firms under contract. It was Progress Training, and the college, as its ultimate paymaster, that were the victims of the frauds, which took place between 1995 and 2002.

Spacey's co-defendant, David Eade, who was principal of the same college, was not proceeded against any further by prosecutors after they were given evidence of his ill-health. The court agreed that he was unfit to stand trial.

A spokesperson for the Serious Fraud Office said: "Spacey played a key role in setting up the business entities ultimately used illegally as a means to garner funds from PTL."

Spacey went on to defraud Progress Training by creating invoices for work and services which had never been carried out.

The investigation started in 2001 with the involvement of South Yorkshire Constabulary and the Learning and Skills Council. The activities at Barnsley were among a number of irregularities which had followed the growth of franchising by colleges after they left local authority control in 1993.

When sentenced, Spacey was told that the court had taken into account his unblemished career before the frauds started, both as a lecturer and as an engineer in the mining industry before that.

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