Mark Townley – con artist with an extensive portfolio

At the start of August NIVCA warned community/voluntary/charity groups of potential difficulties that could arise if they dealt with Mark Townley of NTF. As the cached link shows NTF displayed Social Enterprise Coalition, Give with Confidence, ICO, Learn Direct and  DEL logos on their website so could easily have been accepted as an organisation with integrity.

NICVA is advising voluntary and community organisations and sports clubs not to hand over any money to NTF or to their Director Mark Townley, as an advance of receiving minibuses through a ‘part-funded’ scheme.

A few days later the company ceased trading leaving behind a string of debts and out of pocket charity/voluntary groups.

While this has been reported in the local media, Director Townley has so far only spoken with the Sun Newspaper and he used the opportunity to blame NICVA for his company’s demise:

He told the Sun: “The rings would have been delivered but unfortunately I had to shut down the organisation after NICVA warned people to stay away.”

NICVA have rejected this claim.

As yet none of MSM media outlets have connected Townley’s involvement in similar failed and/or illegal cash up front schemes.

In 2008 he was involved in a modelling ‘scam’ in Dublin that is claimed to have netted him £750,000.

In 2006 he was involved in a scam targeting people looking for work as bodyguards in England:

Mark Townley legitimately set up a training scheme and asked for pounds 250 to be sent to a mail box address in Liverpool for those interested in taking part.

Ian Davies, prosecuting, said they were told they would be attending a training course in Dolgellau, but when they turned up they learned they had been conned.

Police tracked down Townley, 25, of Dublin, in Belfast and he was arrested.

Appearing at Liverpool Crown Court, he admitted 14 offences of obtaining money transfers by deception between March and May, 2006.

The court heard that in April last year he received a suspended six-month sentence for a fraud involving charging pounds 25 arrangement fees for loans dating to 2004.

Judge John Roberts sentenced Townley to six months

As you can see the 2006 trial noted his previous conviction for fraud in 2004.

So one thing is clear, every two years Townley comes up with a new ‘scheme’ and very few seem to benefit but him.

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  • Pigeon Toes

    Good work Mark, and the first (I think) to pick up on his past…

  • Mark McGregor

    PT,

    It was mostly google. I had previously asked Seamus McAleavey (NICVA) on twitter was it the same guy, he confirmed it was. Today I asked why they hadn’t noted the additional info to the MSM – he said they had.

    Seemed strange nobody else carrying his clearly connected form when its all publc domain.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Yeah, I know I googled it the other night, and mentioned his “previous” on Beakbook;-D

    I believe that he also denied he was the same Mark Townley, from the Liverpool case, after the Liveline debacle.
    “Liveline also claimed that Townley had been convicted of fraud in the UK. On air, Joe Duffy said: “I’m putting it to you straight now, you can take me to the High Court on this – you are the Mark Townley that has been banned from entering England and Wales for two years.”

    The Mark Townley in England had been convicted of conning would-be bodyguards out of their money. This Townley set up a training scheme and asked for £250stg to be sent to a mailbox address in Liverpool for those interested in taking part – when applicants turned up, there was no course.

    Townley said: “It is totally untrue what was said about me committing crimes in England. I’ve been accused of so many things and it is in the hands of my solicitor.”

    http://www.tribune.ie/article/2008/jul/06/model-agency-chief-got-death-threats-over-liveline/

  • Mark McGregor

    You don’t think the MSM hasn’t covered the previous cons because he pulled that bluff again?

    ‘It was a completely different Mark Townley involved in exactly the same type of cons’

    Bullshit

  • Pigeon Toes

    He’s just very experienced at what he does.

    In Northern Ireland , they appear to be employed in the civil service…

  • Pigeon Toes

    I genuinely feel sorry for the small organisations caught up in this.

    He just proves though how easy it is to set up an organisation claiming to do good and bluff your way into gaining grants and recognition.
    I did note he was cute enough not to set himself up as a charity.

  • Alan Maskey

    An excellent post Marko. The more these people who prey on the good are spotlighted the better. Let’s hope theyhopefuls of St Agnes and the Scouser bodybuilders get together and discuss matters with this guy. Queensbury rules

    Gents: This kind of thing has been going on for decades. Charities are the biggest scams of the lot (excluding Catholic and Muslim ones, which are generally only redistribution conduits for surplus unwanted food).

    The good charities, the little ones squeezed out by Oxfam and the other Tescos, get approached by a smooth talker. St Agnes Boxing Club would be a good example. They just want to box, not rattle cans. Sweetie offers them say £5k if they sign a piece of paper and he milks them.
    Interestingly the 26 cos is much more unregulated than the self styled UK.
    Then you have the likes of the Red Cross, Goal etc. Great pay and pensions if you can get in. It helps if your name is O’Shea incidentally.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “NTFUK t/a ‘NTF’ is a not-for-profit-making organisation limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales no. 06885911”

  • Greenflag

    Con artist

    Con vict

    Con sultant

    Con servative

    Con gress

    Con cupiscence

    Con tamination

    Con volute

    Who can pick the odd one out if any ?

  • Appreciate the coverage of this on Slugger and also acknowledge the efforts of NICVA in highlighting this issue. I spoke on behalf of Rathgael Gymnastics Club for the bbc newsline report on Wednesday. The club is owed a four figure sum by the NTF and has had more bounced cheques and broken promises than I would care to mention.
    This cycle of events MUST be brought to an end. From what I am told the trail of financial misery is well and truly UK wide.

  • scal

    A close friend was actually working fro this crowd. Told that this was a community organisation helping local groups.

    He wasnt paid for at least 6 weeks work, everytime he asked he was promised that the money would clear that day or the following day. That there was a gap in funding which was being rectified.

    He is devastaed since he heard this news. Feeling that he has been used and has been made to expolit others.

    Clearly this character should be made to personally meet all affected groups and employees. People have came close to loosing house and defaulting on mortages because of this scummy scammer

  • Tomskus

    Concupiscence, as it’s the only one that precludes something enjoyable.

  • Rory Carr

    Yes, Greenflag. Which reminds me of a letter in Private Eye this week from a reader in Harpenden, Herts.:

    Sir,
    So Rupert Murdoch is claiming that he owns the “Sky” in “Skype”. One wonders whether he is preparing a similar claim of ownership over the relevant section of the word “Scunthorpe”.

    Alan Bunting.

  • Greenflag

    Tomskus,

    Good answer and very true in it’s own way but alas too complicated .;)

    The answer is Con volute .

    It’s the only verb :))

  • Greenflag

    Lol :))

    Hislop lives -one step ahead of the legal fraternity just about 🙂

    http://www.anagramgenius.com/archive/sirkei.html

  • John East Belfast

    Convict is also a verb !

  • Tomskus

    As is congress.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Con or Murphy?

  • My initial reaction to Greenflag’s post, PT 🙂

    Time to clean out con stable.

  • greenflag

    Feckin bunch of nitpickin ruminants 😉

    I’ll CON cede to JEB’s convict but not Tomskus’s congress

    http://www.reference.com/browse/the+verb+congress

    Pigeon Toes is politicking but nice one I’ll have to admit – Nevin’s comment has reminded me that I better clean out the augean stable before the horse returns – and I’d also better move the Constable from the foyer of my domain before somebody steals it 🙂

    I guess I wasn’t con vincing eh ?

  • greenflag
  • greenflag

    Con found it link still not right 🙁

  • hmmm

    There is extensive research underway on this chap. Keep your eyes peeled for extremely interesting follow ups to what you may already have seen/heard…

  • Tomskus

    http://reference.com/browse/congress to use your reference. It’s a verb I’m afraid. 🙂

  • Rory Carr

    Pigeon Toes’s comment ” Con…or Murphy” reminds me of the American conman’s trick, the Murphy Game, which is defined as “Any of various confidence games often having the services of a prostitute as a lure and brought off by switching an envelope containing the victim’s cash with one containing scrap paper”.

    In this case it seems that the victims’ cash was exchanged for nothing more than an empty promise. Maybe this guy should go into politics.

  • Alan Maskey

    This is a very important thread as a fraudster has done real harm to severla volutnary groups and communities. I was hoping there would be some intelligent comment here, not judt juveniles paying puerile word games.

    Petr L, Scal etc: Good nd useful comments.

  • Tomskus

    Apologies for any digression Alan. I for one had been waiting for more information to come to light as it seems questions will be asked of The FundRaising Standards Board and other organisations which had involvement with the gentlemans enterprise.

    It seems vetting is carried out on a person if they want to do anything with a charity unless there’s money involved in which case due diligence becomes the first casualty.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Have just thought of this.
    Wouldn’t Mr Townley have had to undertake a Criminal Background check, if he was working with children and vulnerable adults.

    OK perhaps he didn’t actually have any “significant” contact, but is that not a documented organisational requirement from funders?

  • Mark McGregor

    This topic isn’t really my usual thing and I doubt I’ll be following it up. If anyone wants to keep an eye on it, write further on it etc feel free to drop me an email.

  • greenflag

    I surrender 🙁

    Enough of the banter it’s a serious issue which mcgregor has blogged . Bastards like this Townley cad are better horsewhipped than jailed – ditto for some bankers , politicians and others of the OPM predatory species 🙁

  • Alan Maskey

    If anyone ever gets dirt on people like this, theyv should get in touch with the meida. These people need all the negative exposure possible.

  • Seeker

    What ever happened to the Air Ambulance lot?

    Where is the £70,000 they raised?

    The new charity Comissioner needs to be doing something about such cons

  • Seeker

    That was, of course, meant to be £700,000

  • Ernie

    Some questions that need answers in this scheme:
    So where exactly is all the money that NTF/Mark Townley took in cash and bank transfer as ‘part funding’ for the minibuses and boxing rings?
    Why did Mark Townley write refund cheques in his own name if he is on benefits and has no money – presumably knowing they would bounce?
    What is the nature of the arrangement that saw Mark borrow £77,000 and ‘invest’ it in NTF?
    If Mark worked 6 days a week on a voluntary basis for NTF how did he manage to borrow £77,000 while living on benefits?
    Is the NTF company secretary Rachel Groves also Mark Townley’s partner?
    What happened to the money NTF raised for an international development charity?

  • Genie Zucchini

    I very much hope so, surely he will be nabbed and locked up. Hopefully some of the unfortunates that came in contact with the asshole will get their money back.

  • Genie Zucchini

    Yes i agree, in NI you would have to be CRB cleared to go anywhere near children, obviously if you are the MD you can do whatever you bloody well llike, including ripping everyone off………….

  • make me sick.that this guy can do this and be able to live with himself…he conned my wee brothers boxing gym ..duriesboxing gym..and the kelvin boxing gym.out of 1600pounds each..we are in glasgow..ma brother is waiting on the police..cid getting back to him..the quicker we get this guy the jail the better…what comes around gose around..mr townley….am sure there will be quiet a few cons looking forward to seeing you …

  • rachel

    I have followed the story of Mark Townley over the past few weeks. I cant understand how he has got away with conning people like this in Northern Ireland!!!!! Perhaps a few people he has conned out of money should pay him a visit at 58 Gransha Road bangor and have a “Chat” with him and his secretary!!!

  • Alan Maskey

    The loca paper should at least drop around. And some local leaflets and posters would help.

  • Mr Townley has been interviewed by police and is out on bail…..

  • Alan Maskey

    No news is great news and some news in great news. Thank you Moochin for brightening my day and, I am sure, the day of many others..

  • RachFlor

    Also ask the 48plus clubs and projects who financially benefited from Mark Townley’s NTF projects for 18months before this happened. There were no financial complaints then.

  • Story in the Bel Tel tomorrow apparently

  • peter lockhart

    Didnt notice the Townley article, what did you understand it to be about??

  • Apparently he has set up a photography studio on the Dublin road and has taken money and not delivered classes promised. He also now has a tear drop tattoo on his face along with a couple of other tats

  • From the message i was sent asking if i knew of him…..along with a link to this blog

    “Looks nothing like this now has teardrop tattoos on his face, omerta (code of silence) on his hand and a saucy virgin mary all just done recently to complete his edgy look. basically took me on as an intern but had taken on 20 others and charged for a photography course.
    I only paid £90 got off lightly compared to everyone else!”

  • Guys, i’m a journalist from The Detail (www.thedetail.tv). I’ve been working on a story about this individual for sometime, running a story in the next issue, i’ve already made contact with some of those who have been involved with the most recent case, but i’m keen to hear from anyone else who has been affected! If anyone would like to contact me you can do so on- nmccracken@thedetail.tv

  • i’ve put your email up on my fb page
    A couple of people have been in touch after i asked if anyone has had any dealings with Townley

  • Thanks for that, i’ve got a few emails through. Chasing up now. Anybody else wants to get in contact please don’t hesitate to do so.

  • I’m told that he was cruising around in a blacked out merc had a driver and looks to have left the premises on the dublin rd. He also left a big bill at Dukes hotel last week if thats any help

  • Thanks for that I had a meeting witht the manager of the hotel this morning, do you know the company that he hired the chauffeur from by any chance?

  • allan_rudd

    Hey guys
    I have recently worked with Mark. I was the graphic designer that came up with the photography studios new logo.
    He still owes me £200, I did manage to get £70 off him in person when I threatened court action for not paying.

    I had a mobile number which has now been turned off. I cant get in contact with anyone from the studio either.

    I have been told to contact Bill Hanson as he is in charge at the police over details in this case.

    Scary stuff guys.
    The guy must have made a small fortune.

    Allan

  • peeweehermanie

    Latest….. (Daily Mirror) 03 June 2013…..Mark Townley is the guy who was recently arrested in London for threatening to kill Prince Harry.
    Whats more he has now converted to Islam. Seems he became a muslim while in Maghaberry Prison and on released frequented a mosque in Dublin. He has shaved his hair and grown a beard. He’s been on line with a tirade of vile comments under the title ‘Kill Christians’.
    Not only a fraudster and a mad man, now it appears he could be very dangerous person.