The partners who helped finance an award-winning Birmingham restaurant have been accused of using thousands of pounds from a shares fraud to invest in the business.
Matthew Whittlestone allowed his bank account to be used to funnel the cash into the Great British Eatery at Francis Road, Broadway Plaza, in which his fraudster brother was also a partner, it has been claimed.
Whittlestone, (27), of Shenstone Avenue, Stourbridge, has denied two charges of money laundering. Coleen Murray, (24), of Park Close, Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of money laundering.
Mark Heywood, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said Greg Whittlestone was a fraudster who earlier this year had pleaded guilty to his part in what is known as a “boiler room fraud”.
He said the fraud involved contacting potential investors in shares and making dishonest representations about the value of the shares.
Mr Heywood said by the middle of 2007, Matthew Whittlestone was becoming disenchanted with his job at Mitchell and Butlers and that his brother offered him a chance to come in with him and three others into a business they intended to start.
That business, he said, was called the Great British Eatery which was going to be a “posh fish and chip shop”.
Mr Heywood said Matthew Whittlestone was going to be the assistant manager while his brother was going to be the “brains” and put the starting up money into it. He said Matthew Whittlestone provided his brother with his own personal bank account to receive money that was intended to be ploughed into the restaurant and over a period £83,000 passed through it.
Coleen Murray, he said, had previously had a relationship with Greg Whittlestone and she set up four bank accounts. Mr Hotten said, primed by her former partner, she pretended the accounts were connected with cosmetic surgery procedures, and between November 2007 and August 2008, £860,000 was laundered through them.
(The case continues).