Owner of football club Fleetwood Town is jailed for 13 years for his role in £15m scam

Fleetwood Town owner, Andy Pilley has been jailed for 13 years over a complex fraud that tricked unsuspecting companies into signing energy contracts.

Pilley, 53, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court for the scam which targeted small businesses including a children’s cancer charity and companies providing support services for disabled people.

It emerged that Pilley also went to prison for four months in 1998 for conspiracy to steal from the Post Office when he was a counter clerk.

His Honour Judge Knowles KC said on Tuesday: ‘Yours could have been the remarkable story of redemption. Instead, it is a sordid tale of squalid lies, greed and fraud.’

Small business were contacted through a telesales operation which was run by companies that appeared to be independent but were actually controlled by Pilley and his sister Michelle Davidson.

‘The truth was that he owned them and he called the shots,’ added the judge.

‘Cold-calling liars and manipulators duped very large numbers of honest and decent proprietors into long and expensive contracts for their gas and electricity. The bills they had to pay came to tens of millions of pounds.’

Between 2010 and 2019, annual turnover in Pilley’s two Business Energy Solutions companies grew from around £15million to over £100m.

Davidson and two associates, Lee Qualter and Joel Chapman, were also jailed for a total of more than 13 years on Tuesday, July 4.

Pilley stepped down as chairman and a director of Fleetwood following his conviction last month.

Chief executive Steve Curwood has replaced Pilley, and the League One club issued a statement saying it ‘remains in communication with the EFL in relation to the implications of the convictions and will now be making an application to the league in relation to a change of control the club.’