Two Brighton and Hove men charged with £5m betting fraud

Posted On 14 Jun 2012 at 8:19 am

Two men from Brighton and Hove have been charged over what police believe was a £5 million horse race betting brochure investment fraud.

Jobless John McCracken, 45, of Whitehawk Road, Brighton, and self-employed John Brice, 39, of Sandringham Drive, Hove, have been bailed to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Friday 29 June.

They will be joined in the dock by a third man, company director Matthew Thole, 39, of Cefn Mably Park, Michaelston-y-Fedw, Cardiff.

All three are charged with fraudulently conspiring together between 30 April 2003 and 13 February 2008 and with twins Paul and Gregory Spicer, with Lee O’Donnell and others.

The conspiracy allegedly targeted prospective and actual participants in various purported betting services and purported investment services.

They are accused of

  • dishonestlymaking false claims in relation to the betting services
  • making false claims in relation to the investment services
  • seeking and receiving payment in relation to those services

The charges follow a nine-month inquiry by the Sussex Police Major Fraud Unit and a review of the evidence by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Those accused are alleged to have obtained more than £5 million by convincing hundreds of people across the country to invest in non-existent betting brochure schemes.

All three have been on police bail since their arrests last year.

Brice and Thole were charged when they answered their bail on Tuesday (12 June) and McCracken was charged when he answered his bail yesterday (Wednesday 13 June).

A fourth man, a 38-year-old from Lancing, has so far failed to answer his bail and police inquiries are being made to trace him.

The two Spicers and O’Donnell were jailed for conspiracy to defraud at Lewes Crown Court in June 2010.

  1. Mick Reply

    Well done police..eventually.

    Just as in the building industry there are many shades of operators in the tipping industry ranging from the coplete crook con men as per above to respectible honestly run services who proof selections to independant performance monitoring sites.

    Many have proven over many years of independant monitoring to actually be pretty good.

    A bit like if seeking a builder to renovate your not jump on the advertising flyer that hits you with a too good to be true offer. Instead do your research , investigate a few suitable candidates and seek some form of proof they can actually do a good job.

    Some associated reading at


  2. bazza Reply

    well done what you talking about if these greedy people did’nt part with there money on trying to make more from gambling the police would have more time to catch real crooks how much did this case cost tax payers the people who lost there monney out of greed should also pay the cost

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